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Stephen

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  1. Classic Aircraft Review Updated : Aircruiser 66-75 v1.1 by Hangar 23 Very early classic aircraft are very interesting, more so when they are so rare. This aircraft is about as rare as you could could imagine, only 23 of them were built between 1930 and 1938. But they have a significant place in Aviation history, only to be replaced by the United States federal regulations that prohibited single-engine transports on United States airlines, virtually eliminating future markets for the Aircruiser. Bellanca Aircruiser and Airbus were high-wing, single-engine aircraft built by Bellanca Aircraft Corporation of New Castle, Delaware. The aircraft was built as a "workhorse" intended for use as a passenger or cargo aircraft. It was available with wheels, floats or skis. The aircraft was powered by either a Wright Cyclone or Pratt or a Whitney Hornet engine. The Airbus and Aircruiser served as both commercial and military transports. The first Bellanca Airbus was built in 1930 as the P-100. An efficient design, it was capable of carrying 12 to 14 passengers depending on the cabin interior configuration, with later versions carrying up to 15. The Aircruiser's distinctive shape, gave it the moniker of "The Flying Ws" and this hardy design was still flying in Canada well into the 1970's . Is it a Bi-Plane, sort of, as the lower W is still a part aerodynamic surface. When you look at the design closely, it is extremely clever in holding up and bracing the main wing, as for also being a support for the landing wheels. The Aircruiser is a "Tail-Dragger", most were back in this 1930's period, but the early evolution of the multi-seat passenger aircraft is highly perceivable, back in the day, it was, still is a very innovative design. For an aircraft, it looks heavy, but sturdy is probably the best description Hangar 23 is a not really a new entrant to the X-Plane Developers affiliation, but a ex-TorqueSim developer. Still the Aircruiser is an interesting one in the choice of aircraft to debut their talents in doing their own Studio. Technical information of the Aircruiser is rare, but there are two surviving in existence, "CF-BTW," a 1938 model in the Ericson Collection in Madras, Oregon, incredibly the aircraft is still airworthy. The second is "CF-AWR" named the "Eldorado Radium Silver Express", built in 1935, and is under restoration at the Western Canada Aviation Museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Update v1.1... This review has been updated to version v1.1, this includes a set of changes that came out only a few weeks after this original release review was published, the changes are noted here v1.1 Installation The download for the Aircruiser is 1.18GB, with an installation of 1.38Gb. But the installation file/folder system is a slightly complicated. Hangar 23 has selected to put the main Aircruiser file within a folder of a folder? So the first folder is "Aircraft" followed by a folder named "Hangar 23" , with the actual "Aircruiser" aircraft folder inside, or buried in layers of folders? Honestly the first "Aircraft" folder is not required, so just install the "Hangar 23" Folder directly into your X-Plane "Aircraft" folder with the Aircruiser folder inside. All the installation notes are in the excellent manual, but the doubled up "Aircraft" folder creates confusion... Detail and modeling For an aircraft of this size, an installation size of 1.38Gb can only mean one thing, quality in detail. Remember this is a first time effort from Hangar 23, but the detail and quality is outstanding. Both an X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 versions are included in the package, but it is the XP12 version on show here with it's more exponential PBR (Physical Based Rendering) effects and lighting. And it really blows you away. X-PlaneReviews are usually quite lenient when the studio name is new, in overlooking sometimes even the obvious mistakes or poor areas of first time production... But already with the quality of work behind Ulrich, you go straight into the "Masters" level, but this is still a first release from Hangar 23 is just outstanding... and an highly impressive debut for the Studio! And all with an aircraft so rare... the beauty of Simulation is that iconic and classical aircraft can be recreated, their forgotten time, brought back and to live again, or in this case fly again. At the core of this Aircruiser Simulation is just that very aspect, bringing the past alive again for you to absorb and interact with. But this is outstanding work... all the wing braces and support wires are sensationally done, every bolt, castle nut and Cotter Split Pins, are modeled here in detail, leading edge panels are worn and authentic, the struts in detail are excellent, you have to admire it all. If you are a detail junkie, who loves to spend time investigating the quality of the work, then you will love this aircraft, as it's a museum piece brought alive. The massive top wing looks canvas, and you can see the frame that the material covers, it's a lovely formed wing as well. Actually two separate wings, attached to the fuselage. This was the golden age of innovation for aircraft, the transition from wood, canvas to metal, so you get sometimes the mixture of the two eras in the one development as the changes moved on forward. The detail is just gobsmacking. The panels are perfect and so are the bolts that hold them in place, windows and it's thick glass are worn and glazed to perfection... The Cyclone SGR-1820 it is rated at 760 hp, as is the giant three-bladed geared propeller, and all gloriously there to admire. The engines internal intricate detail of metal and brass pipework is very impressive. The Aircruiser is flat sided, there are no curves in the doors and the windows are more nautical portholes than aircraft, but it's all beautifully done, and it is all built like a tank! The two main landing wheels hubs, tyres are massive, but simplistic as well, detail is right down to large CirClip to hold the rim onto the hub. There are four doors that can be opened, two small high cockpit access doors, one left passenger door, and a very big odd A shaped cargo door... all four doors are so authentic to the design, with the Cargo door in two sections that folds. Honestly, it is like a flying shed inside, totally weird. The interior is impressively done, metal and wood dominate, SO much weight in the construction, how did this thing get off the ground? It's all metal piping and blocks of wood, many trees were felled in the creation of the interior, a far, far cry from the ultra clean, state-of-the-art LED lighting Airbus interiors... this is doing it rough. The passenger seats are a pipeframe, with a strung canvas seat, you wouldn't want to go to far on them. Pilot seats are a metal bucket, the pilot gets the luxury of a cushion, the CoPilot the hard metal base. The cushion is required not for comfort, but to be elevated to see over the extremely high instrument panel. The yoke is a big hefty iron thing, beautifully skillfully designed and modeled, you can hide it via a hotspot centre yoke. The side quadrant is again excellent, with the Throttle (T), Propeller (P) and Mixture (M) levers, notable that in 90 years the controls are still as relevant then as now. Lower rudder pedals are also big hefty iron contraptions, you need to be Popeye with his strong arms and legs to match, to fly the Aircruiser. Notable are the two trim winders, one left for pitch/elevator adjustment, and another on the forward roof for the rudder trim. Point to make is that there is no visual trim setting, so you don't know if they are both centred or not, but a guide is two full winder rotations each way. Note the old fashioned brake lever and flap selector handle. -v1.1- in the update Hangar 23 added in a visual marker on to both of the trim winder panels, it's only a small round brass tack, but it does show you your current trim position. Main instrument panel is amazing, this is simply a panel with inset instruments that is highly authentic. Note the boxed Whiskey Compass Again the layout is quite familiar... with a Standard Six layout. Top left is the Airspeed Indicator (MPH/KNTS), Vertical Speed Indicator (V/S), very basic Rate of Turn Indicator, below offset is a Directional Vacuum Gyro (Heading), Altmeter and Horizontal Reference (bank). Far left is a RPM dial, Manifold Pressure, and top right a CYL TEMP. Right panel has Volts, OAT (Outside AirPressure), Oil Temp/Pressure and Fuel Pressure... top Ignition Switch, Fuel Gauges (twin), PPH (Pounds Per Hour) fuel flow and a ELGIN clock. Lower left are a row of switches that cover Battery, Generator, Nav (lights), Landing (light), Starter, Coil Booster, Fuel Pump, Panel Lights and Cabin Light. Far, far left is the fuel tank cock; Both, Left & Right. It's all so impressively well done, the flaked tired black metal facia is very authentic to an aged old aircraft of this generation. - Update v1.1 - Added in the update were two instrument items both related to the "Carburettor Heat". A knob lower dash, and a gauge middle panel centre right. Menu There is a banner menu "Hangar23Aircruiser" that has two menu options; "Options" and "GPS Style" Options: There are six options, Autopilot Toggle, Strain Gauge Toggle, Real Autorudder Toggle, Steerable Tailwheel, Show Pilot and Use Clipboard. The Aircruiser comes with a very basic 2-Axis "Sparrow" Autopilot, basically a set "Holds" Pitch and Roll Rate. Second option is to add on a "Strain Gauge" or Trim indicator. Both are positioned lower centre panel We will go more into the "AutoRudder" in flight, but if you want to disconnect or activate the the AutoRudder you can do so via the menu option, you can also use the hotspot on the (front) Whiskey Compass to do the same action. The Tailwheel is steerable by the rudder pedals, but if you want a free castoring wheel, you can disconnect it via the "Steerable Tailwheel" option. There is the option to show or hide the pilot. He is fully animated in rudder and pitch (forwards & backwards) and seems to have his hands full in controlling the aircraft, he is very good here and well done. Next in the "options" menu is the "Use Clipboard". In the right side pocket there is a VR (Virtual Reality) clipboard (also clickable). This really the "Fuel & Weights" menu... as you can adjust the fuel and Pilots, Passenger, Cargo weights by scrolling them in. They can be set in Lbs or Kgs and the "Load", "Empty" (weight) and Full Gross weight can be seen. You can "Save" your settings, and then "Load" them. Another note is that between flights the Aircruiser will save and reload the same settings to the next flight, until you adjust them. Last two separate items on the "Options" menu are "Reset AP Tuning" (Autopilot on/off) and "Reset AutoRudder Tuning", resets the rudder position to central. An option not shown in the menus, is that if the power is switched off, then the chocks are positioned on the front wheels. The second setting of the menu tab is the "GPS Style", here you can select between the Laminar GNS 530 GPS, or one of the two RXP (Realistic) GNS 530 or GNS 750 GPS units if you have that external additional option. I don't have the Realistic option so that install is not visible here. The GPS units are position on the roof forward, with also a default custom style COMM radio above, and a Transponder panel below. - Update v1.1 - Introduced a set of "Floats" for the aircraft. There was actually a Float version of the Aircruiser, notably two aircraft were converted... noted here as a "Floatplane". The "Float" version can be selected on the "Flight Configuration" menu. "Huge" and chunky floats they are, there is no Amphibian variant (land wheels) The waterborne Aircruiser sits nicely on the water, also moves around on the fluids really well considering the size and weight of the machine. You need those extra huge extra tail fins to keep the aircraft straight. There are several ways to control the water rudder up/down movement. One (the easiest) is to set a keyboard command to "Toggle water rudder", or use the pull (up) or (down) slider on the floor, left behind the flap lever. Water rudder steerage is via your rudder pedals. Float detail is like the rest of the aircraft, exceptionally well done, lovely cleats and perfect cables ____________ Flying the Aircruiser 66-75 You can't at all see out of the Aircruiser, the long nose is way up there, blocking any view, as the tail is way back down there behind you. The only option is to lean very far left to try to see the ground. You would think the Aircruiser being so old-fashioned would be a pain to start, but it's quite benign and easy as long as you do the right procedure. Fuel on "Both", Fuel Pump on, then the most important switch, the "Boost Coil" switch to on. Mixture just to above the (Auto) lean red marker... then up the "Starter" switch, the prop will turn, then gradually fire into a running engine... Both the start up and shutdown of the Cyclone SGR-1820 is exceptional, no fast artificial start or shut down here, but it all comes with stutters and engine positions that are very noticeable, as is the churn of the starter motor against the pressures "clock", "clocking" of the starting engine, its a great and a very realistic re-enactment of the starting, and then the stutter of the engine shutting down, I loved it. I have a horrible history of trying to control tail-draggers, spinning loose tail-wheels have given me loads of grief. But not here though... as mentioned you can disconnect the tail-wheel to be free, if you love that uncontrollable chaos. But for the rest of us the tail-wheel acts through the rudder pedals, but also through the usual "Tiller" yaw. This makes the Aircruiser very easy to manoeuvre around on the ground or on taxiways. Braking and the toe-brakes work normally as well. For once you not fighting the aircraft on the ground to go into the direction you want, but the view internally is hard work to keep it all on the narrow taxiway. So you have a habit of visually taxiing externally until you understand the aircraft more. Very important is to adjust the rudder trim 50%, or a full winder turn to the right. The SGR-1820 is a very powerful force on takeoff, the asymmetric thrust is huge, it pulls you so hard to the left, that even full rudder is required off the line... The Aircruiser for all it's massive weight is sprightly off the line, your working the pedals to find the right balance to keep the aircraft straight, it does thankfully nicely change direction tail-wise to your inputs, very quickly the tail is up at 40 MPH, and there is tons of lift from those wings, at 60 MPH+ and your now flying. The point from "off the line" to "Airborne" is very short, so no flaps are required, time to adjust your direction is short as well... so once off the ground I was already veering right away from the runway, I didn't try to correct it, but just went with the flow and climbing turn, then leveled it all out straighter when higher. With practise with your rudder inputs you could keep it in more of a straight line out... it's a total feel thing, a feel for the aircraft. Pitch trimming is nice, but I recommend a keyboard input than the badly positioned side wall-winder, same for the rudder trim on the roof... You have so much power, the Aircruiser is super fast for an aircraft of this size and age... it's a very physical aircraft to fly, you use the rudder all the time, then finally finding the right amount of input to keep the aircraft in a straight line, a tough idea, with the amount of asymmetric thrust coming at you all the time. The 66-75, as featured here, could produce up to 730 hp from sea level through 5800 ft, where then the power built higher to ~760 hp Maximum speed is 144 kn (165 mph, 266 km/h), (but it feels far faster), Range is an amazing 608 nmi (700 mi, 1,130 km), and the Service ceiling is 22,000 ft (6,700 m), but the average cruising altitude is around 10,000ft, still fast and high for a 90 year old design. Hangar 23 has provided a tool, called the "AutoRudder function", a sort of A.I. tool to take the strain out of flying the Aircruiser. On the ground the rudder control functions as usual. So it was important to properly trim the aircraft prior to takeoff and landing. In flight, the autorudder system then takes control of the rudder, and will attempt to keep a slip angle as dictated by the yaw axis of the joystick. This allows the pilot to slip the aircraft even while the autorudder is active, such that even crosswind operations become possible with the system active. In other words it flies like the X-Plane tool when you have no yaw axis joystick, the wings are connected to the rudder. This gauge will merely prompts the pilot on the direction of trim needed to take load off the “servos”. Unlike the autopilot, the autorudder does not disconnect under a high strain, nor is it dependent upon the aircraft’s electrical system to operate (Cable operation). When activated (via the menu, or Compass) the autorudder has a visible gauge, located on the yaw trim handle base plate. If you are going to deactivate the autorudder during normal flight, first adjust the rudder trim according to the strain gauge, otherwise a very sudden and very unpleasant disconnection will occur. It works very well... but switched off the AirCruiser has a habit of yawing left, almost going around in circles.... You can try to trim it out? but it's hard to find a neutral flight, I did find a position input that worked, slight right rudder and slight stick right as well, but it's tiring for any distance, short or long... the AutoPilot is not much better, tricky to use is to centre the heading. You adjust via the "Roll" or "Up/Dn" switches, as per the three lights, red (left), white (centre) and green (right). But there is a delay in the operation that can make you over trim, I never quite mastered it... so again even on the Autopilot, I went into a slight bank in left handed circles and couldn't the aircraft fly in a straight line unless under manual control. It's the sort of tool that all of a sudden you will understand it and get it right, with time and persistence. This system is like the Sperry Type A-3A. You will need to trim the aircraft perfectly, so the heading is as close to where you want to go and level, flying as straight as you can, then turn on the AP, trying to trim later while the Autopilot is active is a far harder situation. -v1.1- In the update a lot of attention was given to pitch stability and improved rudder response, also this adjustment also works better with the "Sparrow" Autopilot, in both manual and automatic orientations the aircraft felt far more stable, more directional, than with the past banking action... certainly a big improvement in this area. Lighting Lighting internally and externally is basic, which is to be expected. There is one switch for the instrument lights, and another switch for the cabin lights, two spider-web looking ones forward and two roof lights rear, it all looks quite nice at night... The GPS install looks bright and also odd in this old cabin, but it's very well done and easy to use. Externally there are only again two light switches... Navigation, red, green and white tail, the other light is a left wing mounted Landing light, that look and is quite effective. There are no strobes or beacon lights on the aircraft... Flight notes by Hangar 23 notes "DAY - NIGHT* - VFR... *Poor visibility and the antiquated aircraft lighting scheme will present additional challenges during night flights". In other words it is not really an aircraft to be flown in the dark... Sounds... are a bit of a mixed bag. Overall they are excellent, the startup is an aural experience, and so is shutdown, external engine noises are very good right through the range of power outputs, that's the good. The poor is the buzzy interior sounds, that have a sameness of a consistent droning buzz with no fluctuations, even over a short distance I was distracted or even bored with the noise, The Aircruiser maybe really like that in the air, but I didn't really connect with them. The lower power outputs (on the throttle) are however better. Notable is the Aircruiser engine’s 16:11 gear ratio, for the propeller spins slower than the engine, but all readouts and aural sounds are based on the engine and adjustments should be made according to engine state rather than calculated propeller RPM. -v1.1- There was a lot of attention to sounds in the v1.1 update... there was improved cockpit sound origins and changed FMOD engine sounds (which both will be updated incrementally going forward as improvements happen). The developer was at least very responsive to comments, this area certainly needed more better aural sounds. Time to head back to Shoreham (EGKA). A tricky place to lineup, for the mass of trees around the field. All the runways are hidden from view... .... if the system is active on final approach, the autorudder will check if the rudder trim has been appropriately set for the upcoming power reduction. If the trim is not suitably centered, the system will intervene and reset the rudder trim to near center. This may be noted by the clicking of the trim’s chain drive, as well as a mild rolling tendency during finals. Myself I turned the automation off to feel the aircraft on the approach phase, plus a single wind of the rudder trim, to reset it as it was on the takeoff phase. The handling felt normal, as did the approach. If however the autorudder is active, then it will disconnect on landing. Nose up to rub off the speed, as there is no "white flap use zone", I guessed in setting the flaps to below 100 MPH, actually below 90 MPH, and you get a slight lift on each extension... but the transition now down to 80MPH with now a slight descent into Shoreham it all felt perfect. The flap lever or floor handle is extremely well done. It's both a brake handle and Flap handle in one. Over the coastline, and there is still no visual on the runways. Then finally the field is in view.... so I drop, in also trying to miss the treeline. ... but I realise I am too high, and becoming too fast in trying to get down to the grass strip. It's still a very good try.... but I have to abort and climb out! I will note the throttle inputs. If the Aircruiser is trimmed (correctly, or well). The Throttle control is very, very good, as you can control the height via the power. Full power to climb out was excellent (after that slight delay), but I found the Aircruiser to be quite normal in the approach/landing phase as any other heavy single-engined General Aviation aircraft. However you have to be aware of the weight around you with using the throttle power, and that tendency to yaw right with the huge power increase, but you soon adapt to the characteristics and the personality of the aircraft... fun? yes immensely, also a challenge to get the skills right in this cockpit. I didn't want to lose sight of the field layout, now I had found it. So it was a tight turn around back to the other opposite threshold. But be aware that too tight a bank and the Aircruiser will slip badly and lose height towards the lowered wing, there a sweet spot to find in the bank and before the slip starts to emerge, all this is required to get the best rotation of the aircraft. Lower and slower this time.... and it feels right. Then slowly descend, descend "keep it steady" and I touch around 65 MPH, I am not to worried about the speed, as the Aircruiser on grass will dramatically drag itself slower. Toe brakes are still the best tool to stop the aircraft rotating hard right, then left on you, as this happens once the tail goes down, it's tricky, but with practise it works in keeping you straight... I'm down, and arrested before the end of the grass strip... not bad I say. Liveries There are six liveries, one Blank (default), and two liveries that are blank white, but one has a metal nose cover, and another has the same metal nose cover & metal tanks. All are nostalgic except the off soft purple Landmark? _____________ Summary Extremely rare aircraft are always interesting, this Bellanca Aircruiser or Airbus, is one of the rarest as only 23 aircraft were built between 1930 -1938, it is also the famed "The Flying W" and this hardy design was still flying in Canada well into the 1970's. Hangar 23 is a not really a new entrant to the X-Plane Developers affiliation, but a ex-TorqueSim developer. And this unusual rare aircraft is their first project for the newly-named studio and the X-Plane Simulator. The Aircruiser is available as two separate packages for both X-Plane 12 (as shown here) and X-Plane 11. The quality here with the Hangar 23 Bellanca aircraft is very much on show, as it is highly developed and polished. Modeling is absolutely first rate and the detail is highlighted by this experienced and mature developer. As the aircraft is so rare, the detail in the reproduction is simply outstanding, to the point of recreating an era from a long time ago, and with a couple of modern tools thrown in as well, but not to the distraction of the authenticity of the original aircraft. Obviously this is a project of a labour of love, but still delivered with quality and polish. It is old fashioned in design, but the Aircruiser comes with so modern helpers like a "Sparrow" 2-Axis Autopilot, a custom AutoRudder feature, and GNS 530 GPS, and the option for Realistic RXP GNS 530 or GNS 750 GPS units. Tail-Wheel control can be via X-Plane style commands or free-castoring, that makes this aircraft easy for first time Tail-Dragger aircraft learning. Other options include Strain Gauges, Steerable Tailwheel, a fully animated Pilot and Clipboard with a Weights & Balance menu. The Aircruisers unorthodox design does make it a challenge to fly, but I have had far worse and more difficult machines to cope with in the past. The helpers of course help, but once you master that huge powerful force forward, the "Shed" like design is oddly very nice and involving to fly. I usually despise Tail-Draggers, but loved the Aircruiser quite a lot, no, a really lot more. The quality performance and well thought out physics, do bring the totally unique experience alive. Added was a significant update a few weeks after the initial release. This was v1.1, and it included aircraft "Floats", brass markers for the trims, carburettor heat knob and gauge, better sounds and better flight dynamics with improved pitch stability and rudder response. Also added for convenience was the Skunkcrafts Updater. It is certainly a huge credit to the skills of the developer of what they have delivered here, certainly it is a very unique Simulation, but totally authentic as well, Secondly the release also shows off X-Plane 12's excellent dynamics and quality lighting. The Aircruiser 66-75 is very rare, but you can absorb yourself in this 1930's Golden Era of Aviation, and this aircraft is highly relatable to the same machine created over 90 Years ago.... Highly Recommended. ________________ The Aircruiser 66-75 v1.1 by Hangar 23 is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here: Aircruiser 66-75 Price is US$29.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 (2 separate packages) Windows or Mac (Linux not supported) 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.1 (Feb 15th 2024) Download Size: 1.2 GB (each version) Aircraft download is 1.18Gb, and unpacked, then installed in your X-Plane Aircraft folder 1.38Gb. Authorization on startup is required Documents X-Plane Aircruiser Handbook.pdf The provided manual is excellent, a lot of detail, installation, setup and flying tips... even Limitations and Operations. Designed by Hangar 23 Support forum for the Aircruiser 66-75 ________________  Windows - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.09rc5 (This is a Release Candidate review). Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - EGKA - Shoreham - Brighton City Airport by NKdesign (X-Plane.orgStore) US$15.00 ________________ Update Review by Stephen Dutton 12th March 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  2. NEWS! - Aircraft Updated : Leonardo Aermacchi M-346 AJT v1.0.0_1r1 by Deltawing Of all the excellent releases since the start of the year 2024, a few really stood out, but one was simply sensational and showed off the X-Plane 12 Simulator at it's maximum capacity. This was the European Trainer Leonardo Aermacchi M-346 AJT by Deltawing, brilliant it is, breathless even. The M-346 is designed for the main role of a lead-in fighter trainer, in which aircraft's performance and capabilities are used to deliver pilot training for the latest generation of combat fighter aircraft. Powered by a pair of Honeywell/ITEC F124-GA-200 turbofan engines of 28 kN (6,300 lbf) thrust each, and designed to reduce acquisition and operating costs, the M-246 is capable of transonic flight without using an afterburner. As good and comprehensive the initial release was, there was always going to be a developer follow up to do adjustments and address the few bugs outstanding. And here it is with the update version of v1.0.0_1r1. Like the aircraft the update is very comprehensive. It has three sections; Fixes, Additions and Improvements. In "Additions" there is now a more realistic canopy open/close switch and Pressure lever. and a better Realistic Nose Wheel Steering system.... (I found the nosewheel didn't turn very wide), so it is related to this. There were added in more "Format" pages into the three MFDs (Multi-Function Display), covering the CNI, COMM1 SET & LIST, VOR/ILS SET & LIST, TACAN SET & LIST and Implementation of the IFF SET MFD format page. There are also Flight Model and Autopilot Improvements. Thrust and Drag, Airfoils Behaviour and Roll & Pitch rate improvements. Particle and Sound Adjustments... and a Plus+ is the new extra livery "BLUE". Fixes: ⁃ Fixed LEF working according to AOA when TEF or Gear is down. ⁃ Fixed Speed Brake limiter when full flaps to be 40 Degrees instead of 50. ⁃ Fixed GHD display not using the standby barometric setting. ⁃ Fixed LEF and TEF Markings on the fuselage to show the correct positions. ⁃ Fixed COMM1, COMM2, TACAN, VOR/ILS & IFF format pages on both UFCP and MFDs to not show if the corresponding system is not operating. ⁃ Fixed Elec System not powering down the displays some times. ⁃ Fixed AoA HUD symbol during Landing to much 8 minimum, 10 optimal and 12 maximum AoA. ⁃ Fixed FPM, CDM, FRL HUD indication. ⁃ Fixed Roll Axis being on the bottom of the plane. ⁃ Fixed Ailerons and Elevators providing braking during landing. ⁃ Fixed black clouds coming out of the engine. ⁃ Fixed Blank spaces in all displays. ⁃ Fixed mach indication on CADI. ⁃ Fixed turbine rotation animation. ⁃ Fixed internal and external fuel to match the real jet. Additions: ⁃ Implementation of a realistic canopy open/close switch and Pressure lever. ⁃ Implementation of a realistic Nose Wheel Steering system. ⁃ Implementation of the CNI MFD format page. ⁃ Implementation of the COMM1 SET & LIST MFD format page. ⁃ Implementation of the VOR/ILS SET & LIST MFD format page. ⁃ Implementation of the TACAN SET & LIST MFD format page. ⁃ Implementation of the IFF SET MFD format page. ⁃ Implementation of a realistic Anti-Ice system. ⁃ Implementation of 53 authentic sound warnings. Improvements: ⁃ Flight Model Improvements. ⁃ Autopilot Improvements. ⁃ CTR adjustment on all displays. ⁃ Thrust and Drag Improvements. ⁃ Airfoils Behaviour Improvements. ⁃ Roll & Pitch rate improvements. ⁃ MFDs System Overhaul. ⁃ COMM1 & 2 format pages on UFCP more accurate representation. ⁃ Refuel probe state is now being saved after changing it. ⁃ Extra Free livery. ⁃ Textures adjustments. ⁃ 3D adjustments. ⁃ Particles adjustments. ⁃ Sound adjustments. X-PlaneReviews did a comprehensive review of the Aermacchi M-346 release here: Aircraft Review : Leonardo Aermacchi M-346 AJT by Deltawing Simulations This is a totally value priced simulation for under US$40 and now newly updated. What you are getting here is the total best of both worlds, higher quality and systems, for that very credible price. The Deltawing Aermacchi M-346 certainly delivers massively in both or all areas. It's nice to fly and nicely balanced as well... but the thing that comes across more than anything in the Aermacchi is the higher realism... with projects like these, the real world gap to simulation is closing in even more.... Highly Recommended! ___________________ Yes! the Leonardo Aermacchi M-346 AJT v1.0.0_1r1 by Deltawing Simulations is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Leonardo Aermacchi M-346 AJT On sale: US$39.95 Main Features: Highly detailed 3d exterior model Highly detailed 3d cockpit model Highly detailed landing gear system Highly detailed pilot figures Dual cockpit Custom remove before flight objects Custom particles system Realistic FMOD custom sounds 4K textures Realistic startup sequence Custom cockpit lights Custom external lights Custom external fuel tanks (droppable) Fully custom electronics system Fully custom environmental system Fully custom autopilot Fully custom Fly-By-Wire system 3 individual fully custom MFD displays, as close to the original as possible Supports Skunkcraft updater 11free 4K highly detailed liveries included Supports VR Requirements: X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac (M1 and M2 are supported) or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 800 MB Current version: 1.0.0_1r1 (March 6th 2024) Design by DeltaWing Simulations Support forum: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/forums/forum/753-aermacchi-m-346-advanced-jet-trainer/ https://deltawingsim.com/ ___________________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 9th March 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  3. NEWS! - Aircraft Updated : FPS Embraer E-195 v1.2.3 Renamed (from Supercritical Simulations Group) Flight Procedures Simulation, have released an update to their excellent Embraer E-Jet 195. This is version 1.2.3 (not one hard to forget). This is a comprehensive update that covers a lot of adjustments and bug changes that followed on with the aircraft on it's release in July 2023... the changelog is quite long! v1.2.3 Changelog - Improved Sasl code for best performance in FPS - Improved Cockpit, External, PBR and material gloss textures - Improved Speedbrake system that now works with the default X-Plane and/or custom FPS speedbrake command - Improved Pushback that now removes the chocks when engaged - Improved Flight dynamics and airfoil data (new lift model) - Improved Taxing behavior and land nose gear concerns - Improved Engine model with new Ram compression - Improved Navigation vertical patch drawing - Improved Navigation Display that only show runways above 3400 feet now - Improved FMA RNAV(non precision approach) RNP APP indicators fixed to meet exact the real ones. - Improved Engine TO-1,TO-2, and TO-3 with ALT/TEMP new calculation for FLEX power - Improved FMC landing speed calculation that now uses the landing weight prediction and can be called from tablet while in the ground - Improved Flight Director TAKEOFF that now respects the altitude waypoint speed/turn transition - Improved FMOD sounds like engines, internal cockpit, cabin and external, winds and air cond - Fixed Cabin Differential pressure and ADV message with a differential value - Fixed Altitude alert sound not working when hit 1000ft to the altitude dailled - Fixed Ice Condition synoptic indicator that was always visible - Added Chocks object to the external model - Added Thermal textures and cockpit windsheld temp. The full X-PlaneReviews release review of the FPS E-195 is here: Aircraft Review : Embraer E-195 by Flight Procedures Simulation Owners of the previous E-Jets by SSG (only the SSG version) can get this FPS E-195 for 20% off. Please find the discount code in your original E-Jets Invoice. So overall if you want a thoroughly decent E-Jet, without the extreme price, then you can't go past this significantly upgraded E-Jet 195 from Flight Procedures Simulations. You could say it is proven and tested, certainly for the older users of the SSG version, who will quickly settle in and be comfortable in their newer updated surroundings. It is great if a clever update to already a good aircraft, and older purchasers of the previous E-Jets by SSG can get this FPS E-195 for 20% off, and that is a great value deal to upgrade the aircraft to X-Plane 12, and all it's modern features. So the E-195 is highly recommended for that great value price, without sacrificing the quality. ___________________________ Yes! - the Embraer E-195 by Flight Procedures Simulation v1.2.3 is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : FPS Embraer E-195 Price is On Sale... US$55.00 Requirements X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows or Mac (not compatible with Linux) 8GB + VRAM Minimum Download Size: 718 MB Current version : 1.2.3 (March 1st 2024)) Owners of the previous E-Jets by SSG (only the SSG version) can get this FPS E-195 for 20% off. Please find the discount code in your original E-Jets Invoice. Designed by Flight Procedures Simulation (ex SSG) Support forum for the FPS 195 News by Stephen Dutton 8th March 2024 Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  4. NEWS! - Upgraded to X-Plane 12 : Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee C - XP12/XP11 by AeroSphere Simulations The Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee C by AeroSphere has been upgraded to X-Plane 12, the updated X-Plane 11 version is also part of the package. AeroSphere’s Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee C was designed after the 1960’s model with the square-cut windows and the iconic “Hershey Bar” wing. This specific model, also known as the “C” variant has a four cylinder carbureted Lycoming O-360 that produces 180HP and is equipped with a two bladed, fixed pitch propeller. The Cherokee 180 C featured “push-pull” style throttle and mixture controls instead of the throttle quadrant levers that Piper introduced in 1968. The panel and interior were designed after the same era with updated avionics such as the autopilot and Garmin GPS system that is commonplace among Pipers. Features: Updated for X-Plane 12: Rain effects, new aircraft lighting, and aircraft handling etc… (Still includes X-Plane 11 version, free upgrade to XP12) 4 HD (4096 x 4096) liveries with a plain white texture that can be used for custom paint schemes. Steam gauge classic general aviation panel with required instruments for IFR. Garmin 530 & 430 All gauges are 3D Detailed flight model and interactive 3D virtual cockpit with animated knobs, buttons etc. cabin door, storm window and front/rear baggage compartment door. Toggle button to remove/display yoke Compatible with HDR and normal lighting effects Many textures taken from the actual aircraft Virtual Reality friendly and includes the click regions and hotspots required for VR gameplay. FMOD sounds The Piper Cherokee is what started the main line of Piper aircraft today, and many of the Piper aircraft trace their roots back to the original Cherokee production aircraft. The original Cherokee was produced with three different horsepower models (150, 160, and 180) thus the “180” denoting which model it is. The max gross of the aircraft changed based on the engine and also the climb rate and cruise speeds increased based on the power output. The 180 horsepower variant had an empty weight with an autopilot at 1270lbs. and a gross weight at 2400lbs. resulting in a useful load of 1130lbs. mages and video are courtesy of AeroSphere Simulations Design by AeroSphere Simulations _____________________________________ Yes! - Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee C XP12/XP11 by AeroSphere Simulations is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee C Price is Currently US$29.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 180 MB Current Version : XP12 1.0 (March 5th 2024) ___________________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 8th March 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  5. NEWS! - Updated to X-Plane 12 : VSKYLABS Scheibe SF-28A Tandem-Falke VskyLabs have updated their Scheibe SF-28A Tandem-Falke (Falcon) motor glider to X-Plane 12. The SF-25C is a German touring motor glider developed from the earlier Bergfalke glider by Scheibe Flugzeugbau. Developed in 1963, the original SF-25 was a high-wing powered glider, but the wing was lowered to create the SF-25B/C. There are a lot of variations of engines powering these gliders, but this model known as the Falke 2000 is using the 60 kW (80 hp) Limbach 2000 EA, and driving the propeller at 3,450 rpm. Basically this German Motor Glider is at it's heart a very basic aircraft. VSKYLABS 'Test-Pilot' Project: designed for use with X-Plane cutting edge flight model environment, featuring superb flight dynamics with authentic performance and flight handling characteristics. Superb Flight dynamics: The VSKYLABS SF-28A simulation was developed to follow the real SF-28A handling and performance characteristics. It is a highly engineered, robust motor-glider simulation model which makes use of X-Plane 12 sophisticated flight dynamics and physics simulation, extracting it to its limits. Simulated systems: The VSKYLABS SF-28A features X-Plane 12 latest native features, systems and physics. This assures a 'high airworthiness' in X-Plane, throughout its update process. Some systems may be restricted to X-Plane default systems algorithms. General cockpit configuration: VSKYLABS chose to design the SF-28A cockpit with a touch of a modern conversion. A simplified NESIS digital avionics package is included with an emulation of the NESIS engine-monitoring screen. Built-in AviTab compatibility is included, and the main NESIS display can be used for displaying the AviTab, in a toggle mechanism. The aircraft is fully functional from the back-seat (with some limitations which are derived from the real-world SF-28A backseat operations). Built for VR: development was tailored specifically for VR, and optimized for 2D usage. Perfect fit for beginner and expert pilots: With its superb handling qualities and docile behavior, the SF-28A Tandem-Falke will serve as a safe training platform for powered flight, as well as for gliding. It is a motor-glider, so it's perfect for thermal-hunting and cross-country flights as well. Wonderful FMOD sound package that includes authentic Limbach engine recordings and an interactive set of dynamic sound layers that will "wrap" your flight perfectly, setting a whole new level of flying experience! Built-in Avitab Plugin Compatibility (AviTab plugin is not included). Detailed manual is included. Paint-Kit is included. Autoupdater based on the SkunkCrafts autoupdater (XP12 only) - all updates are being pushed smoothly without the need to re-download the entire base package (base package will be updated every once in a while to minimize the gap). This project is part of the VSKYLABS 'Test-Pilot' series, designed specifically for use with X-Plane cutting edge Experimental Flight Model. The VSKYLABS Scheibe SF-28A Project was also developed for X-Plane flight simulator with the acknowledgement/approval of the 'Scheibe Air". Images are courtesy of vSkyLabs... Scheibe SF-28A Tandem-Falke XP12 by vSkyLabs is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore ___________________________ Yes! Scheibe SF-28A Tandem-Falke XP12 by vSkyLabs is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : VSKYLABS Scheibe SF-28A Tandem-Falke Price is US$29.00, on sale for US$20.30, You Save:$8.70(30%) Requirements X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac and Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.0a (Feb 28th 2024) ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 8th March 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  6. NEWS! - Poster Released : FlightFactor Boeing 777 Cockpit Poster Modern aircraft systems are now much more very organised into System groups and workflow, an Integrated systems model mostly to eliminate the Flight Engineer, and to create the two-man cockpit. But before such cockpit changes the panel layouts were complex, and as a budding pilot, or to be reassigned to another aircraft type. You had to learn the cockpit, button, switch layouts. This was called the system schematics. The solution was a system poster, a diagram printed sheet of the aircraft's panels, showing all the positions of the buttons, switches and work flows of the instrument panels. Geeks loved them as well, and for every budding pilot, they were the best way to study the aircraft and it's systems, without actually being in the cockpit. The Boeing 777, was really the first, but also the crossover aircraft that was on the other side of the analog to glass cockpit transition. It was a long haul machine, but it only had a two-man crew setup. Systems were newly intergrated heavily into workflow arrangements, unique at the time in the early 90's, but still the jump to modern cockpit standards. FlightFactor introduced the first quality Boeing 777 Twin-Jet for the X-Plane Simulator back in 2012. In 2024 they are due to release the Version Two (V2) of the same aircraft noted as the "Ultimate", but it's vastly updated over the the original release. This V2 will have the full aircraft simulation (yes a full study level). And to help in learning the aircraft, FlightFactor have released a full system schematics poster to study. Features include Resolution: 13380 x 22850 Includes system schematics Made for and by FlightFactor Demo Displays Highly detailed, the poster covers all the system schematics of the aircraft, making study easier and switch/button location accessible. This poster is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore for only US10 Produced by Flight Factor - More about the upcoming 777 v2 Ultimate Images are courtesy of FlightFactor _______________________________ The FlightFactor 777 Cockpit Poster is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: FlightFactor 777 Cockpit Poster Price is US$10.00 Requirements None Current version : 1.0 (Feb 23rd 2024) ___________________________ News! by Stephen Dutton 8th March 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  7. NEWS! - Scenery Released : LFKC -CALVI Corsica XP12 by FSX3D Prominent Flight Simulator 2020 developer FSX3D has released one of their most detailed and interesting sceneries for X-Plane 12. This is LFKC - Sainte-Catherine Airport on Corsica. The FSX3D developer has already released a large number of French related sceneries for the MSFS platform, hopefully more will be converted, then follow over to the X-Plane platform. Calvi – Sainte-Catherine Airport is an airport located 6 km southeast of Calvi, a commune of the Haute-Corse department in France, on the island of Corsica. The airport is managed by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bastia and Haute-Corse, and In 2013, the airport registered the passage of 302,672 passengers. Calvi-Sainte-Catherine is an international airport, and as such, it hosts the services of the Air and Border Police and those of Customs. The airport is not open to night traffic. Calvi is located on the northwest coast of the island of Corsica, 95 km (59 mi) from Bastia and 24 km (15 mi) from L'Île-Rousse. It is the fifth-largest commune in Corsica; however, the arrondissement is the smallest. Scenery Features Include Ultra detailed car parks, taxiways and track PBR on all objects Ambient occlusion (Objects and ground) Wet track effects Dynamic lighting Citadel and town of Calvi in 3D Altimeter patch for Ortho4XP Besides the detailed LFKC Sainte-Catherine Airport, the scenery also contains the actual Calvi Citadel commune, and this aspect has also been well modeled here. Overall it is a great destination in the central Mediterranean Sea, between Spain and Italy. All is well value priced at a reasonable US$14.99. This scenery is only available in the X-Plane 12 option. Images are courtesy of FSX3D _______________________________ LFKC -CALVI Corsica XP12 by FSX3D is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: LFKC - CALVI, Corsica XP12 Price is US$14.99 Requirements X-Plane 12 Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB VRAM Minimum Download Size: 451 MB Current version : 1.1 (Feb 23rd 2024) ___________________________ News! by Stephen Dutton 7th March 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  8. NEWS! - Aircraft Updated : F-104 Starfighter FXP v1.12 by Colimata Colimata has updated the sensational F-104 Starfighter FXP to v1.12 for the X-Plane 12 Simulator. With those blade like wings this was one tricky aircraft to fly. This update has focused on the aerodynamics and the flight model, to help in with more control and for the better handling of this unique aircraft. Flight Controls also are now more responsive. The Skunkcraft's Updater has also now been added for easier future updates. Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is an American single-engine, supersonic air superiority fighter which was extensively deployed as a fighter-bomber during the Cold War. Created as a day fighter by Lockheed as one of the "Century Series" of fighter aircraft for the United States Air Force (USAF), it was developed into an all-weather multirole aircraft in the early 1960s and produced by several other nations, seeing widespread service outside the United States. X-PlaneReviews full comprensive review of the Colimata Starfighter is here: Aircraft Review : F-104 FXP Starfighter by Colimata Version 1.12 (Feb 27th 2024) Improved Flight model Improved Flight controls Systems improvements Updates to the visuals Bug fixes Skunkcraft Updater compatibility Update v1.12 is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore, or use the mentioned Skunkcrafts Updater The Colimata F-104 is also currently on sale, with a $6.00(13%) saving on the retail price. __________________________ Yes! - the F-104 FXP Starfighter V1.12 by Colimata is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : F-104 FXP Starfighter Price is : US$45.00 - Sale price US$39.00 Requirements X-Plane 12 Only Windows, Mac and Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Download Size: 941 MB Versions 1.12 - February 27th 2024 Developed by Colimata Support forum the F-104 FXP ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 7th March 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  9. NEWS! - Scenery Released : PAPG - Petersburg James A Johnson Airport by NorthernSkyStudio Northern Sky Studio's have released another Alaskan Scenery. This is the Petersburg James A Johnson Airport, for both X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11, and are both included in the package.. Petersburg James A. Johnson Airport is a state owned, public use airport located one nautical mile (2 km) southeast of the central business district of Petersburg, a city in the Petersburg Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska that has no road access to the outside world.[1] Airline service is subsidized by the Essential Air Service program. Petersburg James A. Johnson Airport has only one runway designated 5/23 with an asphalt surface measuring 6,400 by 150 feet (1,951 x 46 m). Northern Sky do some pretty great sceneries, not only externally, but the best internal modeling as well, in fact they were the leaders in this environment... and they all come with a very low value price. Like most towns along the Milk Run & on Alaska's panhandle, Petersburg is only accessible by plane or boat and is largely involved in commercial fishing having a population of roughly 3000 people living in the area. It also attracts tourists for outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, & fishing even getting some small cruises. Petersburg itself is located on the north end of Mitkof Island and is located halfway between Juneau and Ketchikan. PSG is less than a mile from the town center & is only served by Alaska Airlines with flights to Juneau and Wrangell. While Alaska Airlines is the only major airline at PSG, scheduled commercial flights only make up 10% of operations here with air taxis having the majority, such as float planes or helicopters... Features: The most detailed replica of airport buildings and vehicles EDGE, REIL and Taxiway lights can be enabled on 122.500 COM1 Custom hand-placed autogen High resolution ground textures / Custom runway textures High resolution building textures Compatible with all X-Plane 12 features Custom mesh for the airport area (Ortho4XP) All materials created for full PBR Shading and occlusion (texture baking) effects on all airport buildings High-resolution building textures Custom orthophoto for the airport and surrounding areas World Traffic 3 compatible The airport is operated by Alaska Airlines, Alaska Seaplanes, and other private and business aviation. Alaska Airlines operates daily Boeing 737-700 passenger and Boeing 737-700 passenger/cargo jet service from the airport. Stopping at Petersburg airport is a part of Milk Run. The Milk Run refers to the daily circuit of Alaska Airlines flights that hop between towns in Southeast Alaska, serving as a lifeline for the communities that aren’t always connected by roads to the outside world. One of the Milk Run routes, Flight 65, starts in Seattle and stops in Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, and Juneau before landing in Anchorage. Another, Flight 66, starts in Anchorage and stops in Cordova, Yakutat, and Juneau before arriving in Seattle. A custom Ortho4XP tile is available for download to include with this scenery. The link in the manual. Images are courtesy of NorthernSky Studios _______________________________ PAPG - Petersburg James A Johnson Airport by NorthernSkyStudio is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: PAPG - Petersburg James A Johnson Airport Price is US$12.00 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 (both versions included) Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 2 GB Current version : 1.0 (Feb 15th 2024) ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 17th February 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  10. Aircraft Review : JRX Design Bell 407 v1.30 for X-Plane 11 and 12 A derivative of the Bell 206L-4 LongRanger, Bell 407 is a four-blade, single-engine, civil utility helicopter that uses the four-blade, soft-in-plane design rotor with the composite hub developed for the United States Army's OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, instead of the two-blade, semi-rigid, teetering rotor of the 206L-4. So the breed line is from the famous "Jetranger", but the 407 is the far bigger and powerful relation to the family. The Bell 407's fuselage is 8 inches (20 cm) wider, increasing internal cabin space, and includes 35% larger main cabin windows. The more powerful Rolls-Royce/Allison 250-C47 turboshaft allows an increase in Maximum Takeoff Weight and improves performance at hotter temperatures and/or higher altitudes. The helicopter has standard seating for two crew and five cabin seats. In 1993, Bell began the development of the New Light Aircraft as a replacement for its Model 206 series. The program resulted in the 407, a development of Bell's LongRanger. A 206L-3 LongRanger was modified to serve as the 407 demonstrator. The demonstrator used hardware for the 407 and added molded fairings to represent the 407's wider fuselage then under development. The demonstrator was first flown in 1994, and the 407 program and was publicly announced at the Heli-Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, in January 1995. The first 407 prototype (C-GFOS) then accomplished its maiden flight on June 29, 1995, and the second prototype (C-FORS) followed on July 13, 1995. After a short development program, the first production 407 (C-FWQY/N407BT) flew on November 10, 1995. Since then almost 1500+ aircraft have been built. In 2021, only three years ago JRX Design started in the X-Plane Simulator with the dual SA 341B and SA 342J Gazelle, then their next release was the Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 DBS-4, a big name, but also a lot of helicopter, which was updated only 12 months ago to X-Plane 12. All sensational and quality designs. This is JRX's latest release with the Bell 407. Notable is that the release(s) are separate for both the X-Plane 12 version or the X-Plane 11 version, as they are not packaged together here. We will of course focus on the XP12 version for the review, in details the X-Plane 11 is identical, but missing the X-Plane 12 dynamic features. This is not the first Bell 407 for X-Plane. That was the excellent Bell 407 from Dreamfoil Creations, a standard bearer for it's time with a huge feature list and flying dynamics. Currently still only X-Plane 11, but with the release of the terrific Schweizer S300CB, it noted the developer was back in a big way, and he notes that the Bell 407 (and the AS350 B3+) are now being developed for X-Plane 12, expect in a few months. So that obviously sets up a quandary, which would be the best B407 to buy? A hard one even for me, as both as we shall see are very highly quality developed machines. The B407 from JRX is available now and for X-Plane 12, but the Dreamfoil 407 will have a bigger feature list and personal familiarity... it is a very, very tough choice. Note, that since this review has been published, JRX Design has since updated the 407 to v1.30 (forget v1.10 as it was a non-starter). There were a few new additions, the biggest new feature was the CINEFLEX camera feature, and that item has now been included in the review. Design wise JRX have a superlative quality record, and to scale, and that aspect shows here. The 407 is beautifully done in modeling terms with excellent glass. Odd here though is you can't hide the glass reflections (inside or external), but it is still very well done with both front and rear doors with window (opening) hatch inserts. The huge fuel filler is excellent. Notable is that the riveting is drawn on and not modeled with highlights, same with the engine cover latches. It's well done but noticeable, but the external panel bolts are nicely 3d. The engine internals are also images, again highly realistic, so you admire them and are not as so distracted by them being only 2d Rear tail boom, horizontal stabiliser and upright tail support are well modeled, with the original orange/white tail-skid. The heart of a helicopter are the rotors and their assemblies.... The main rotor is a 35 foot diameter, soft-in-plane flex beam (flapping flexure) type yoke/hub with four interchangeable blades. Elastomeric technology is incorporated and allows for blade movement. The blades and yoke are all composite materials. The rotor is designed to rotate at 413 RPM at 100% Nr. As rotor heads go it is very, very simple design, just the tower and four pushrods. Plate construction is really good, as are the arms, but we are going to lose points because only the collective bite is animated (13 degrees of twist), shame as we know the Dreamfoil 407 is fully animated, but the movements here are good. Rear tail-rotor is intricately designed, great detail and fine work. The yaw animations are also well done and visible. All doors are animated, can be opened externally and internally, and they can also be removed, but only all and not individually. Left side also takes away the cam centre panel, for a very wide open space for the Medi-Vac. So you really do wish for more selection on which doors you want removed as you can't slide the rear doors open in flight, missing also is the long and short window door panel option. Rear cabin seats five, or four chunky seats and a tight centre child seat in the rear. Default colour is a light grey with the very nice "Bell" logo on the seat back, the trim material is all very nicely done. Seating colours change to the selected external livery, with four choices in Light Grey, Red, Green and Dark Grey. The familiar restricted cabin roof is well reproduced here, making the rear cabin feel very authentic to those familiar with a 206/406 environment. Forward pilot seats are also very chunky for a helicopter, but very well designed and created. Again the materials are of a quality nature, a feel real effect if viewed in closely of the excellent chosen materials, the above roof switch and CB-Fuse panel is also excellent. All circuit breakers are active and animated. Side doors are beautifully realistically molded, with the authentic bell 407 logos and opening slide window, same in the rear. There is the option for single or duel controls, the left side pilot's cyclic and collective are very basic, with just a throttle built in. The right side pilot has a more detailed collective head, with FLOAT activation and lights with SEARCH, LDG (landing) and Start/Disengage switch. Chunky could also describe the instrument panel, for a small helicopter the 206/407 instrument panels are massive. But the instrument arrangement is quite simple. Top left is a Radio Altmeter, Engine readouts (TRQ - Torque, MGT, NR/NP - RPM, Davtron Clock/OAT/Volt meter, Fuel PSI-AMPS, FUEL Qty and Gearbox and Engine Oil pressure/Temp). Flying instruments include Airspeed, Artificial Horizon, Altimeter. Main NR/NP Tachometer dual gauge, Bendix/king HSI (Horizontal Situation Indicator), Vertical Speed instrument. OBS (Omni-Bearing Selector) for ADF 1/2, OBS NAV 1 and Turn rate dial. Lower is the avionic stack, with a custom GNS 530, KX 155A COM/NAV 1 radio, another KX 155A COM/NAV 2 radio, Bendix/King KMA 30 radio, Bendix/King KT74 Transponder and bottom (flat) a Bendix/King KR87 ADF radio. The metal rudder pedals are also highly designed and have pretty Bell logos. Panel can be set in either a light or dark tone There are two sets of headphones, in that their cables drag across the cockpit and obscures the instrument panel, you can click (lower volume) to hide the right headset, but you can't click on the left co-pilot one to hide it? so it hangs there! and right in your view line (It can thankfully be hidden another way as we shall see later). v1.20 and the Co-Pilot headset can now be thankfully also hidden directly via a "hotspot" click. Power on and the panel is beautifully done, love the instrument contrast to the red radio readouts. Then simply glorious at night! Caution Warning Panel (CWP) is very authentic, you can also test the systems via the button right panel. CWP can be set to BRIGHT or DIM illumination. Other internal lighting includes rear bulkhead adjustable spot light, plus the same as a cabin (switch) light, rear cabin lights again look very nice in the darker light, single overhead panel switch, or the individual rear switches can be used. Overhead panel lighting is again sensational. Menu To access the menu, you press the "Tablet" button on the far right top of the instrument panel. It is in the design of the RWP GTN 750 module. The tablet is extremely well intergrated with a support arm to the instrument binnacle. There are four option tabs on the left; MENU 1, MENU 2, RXP TAB, Avi TAB and LIVERIES. MENU 1 You could call Menu 1 the options tab set into five categories (not labeled). First two, with first the Static Elements, Covers, Tiedowns and Flags, second is the external "GPU" (Ground Power Unit). Note the "Rotor Park Brake" has to be down to activate the Static Elements. Next category covers the pilots and passengers; you have "Fly With Copilot" that puts a crew member in the left seat, notable is when you do this that headset disappears from your POV. You also have "Crew Helmets" but those pesky hanging headsets then return... damn. Pressing "Crew Headsets" will hide only the Pilot's headset, but not the Co-Pilot's. Final option here is the "Passengers", which inserts two lovely ladies in the rear cabin If you adjust the X-Plane "Weight & Balance" menu, it makes no difference or adds in NO more passengers or cargo. In this area the JRX is limited in options Next category covers options; "Dual Flight Controls", and Doors ON/OFF... Under the rear there is a large "Searchlight", or you can have the "Emergency Floats" installed on the skids. There are upper and lower "Wire Cutters" and last is the "ROTOR DAMPENER" cap. New in v1.20 were some very nice rear "Bear Paws" Last category is the set of options for the (optional) Reality RXP GTN 750. There is also a "Autopilot Unit" or Stability Augmentation Systems (SAS), this panel is placed lower right on the instrument panel. Last two options here is the "AviTab" tool (Plugin required), and the selection of the Light/Dark instrument facia. Also on the right side of "Menu 1" are three "Engine Exceedances" readouts, these can also be reset in TRQ (Torque), MGT and NG RPM Listed top of the panel is the current "Version" MENU 2 In this tab you set the aircraft's configuration. Top is the "Fuel Load" in 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and 1/1 or FULL. Lower left is the changing weights as you select the (Fuel) and Weight/Payload selections right, "ALL UP WEIGHT" and "MAXIMUM TAKEOFF WEIGHT" must balance. Lower are three options with CofG (Centre of Gravity), "Vibrations" Off-x1, x2,x3... last is the selection of the FOV or "Field Of View". RXP/Avi TAB Are both quick button selections of the Reality WP GTN 750 and the Avitab tool LIVERIES You can select your livery via the tablet, and it gives you an image of the 407. There are 21 liveries, that covers a wide spectrum of services and countries, all are excellent. CINEFLEX A new feature added to the JRX B407 in the update v1.30, was the excellent CINEFLEX camera system. The Cineflex V14 is a 5-axis gyro stabilized camera system that delivers images completely free from even the smallest vibrations. It has a Sony Cinealta HDC 1500 camera integrated in the carbon-fibre housing that rotates a full 360°, and all movements are operated from within the helicopter. The first place you would look to activate the camera is the JRX Menu, but it's not located on there? The Camera system is activated by the "Camera System" switch, on the overhead panel, row below the circuit breakers/fuses, far right. Switching it on comes with a disclaimer from the developer... it will deliver a 25% FPS hit on your framerate (any internal to external X-Plane viewpoint, usually has this same negative effect). It is a significant hit, so if the CINEFLEX is not in use it is best switched off. Activated you get the camera pod assembly now visible, slung under the nose of the B407, the modeling is excellent with the detail and the quality of the camera system. On the left side of the instrument panel, there is now positioned a cowled screen and operators panel... The panel has two sets of camera operation knobs, and four buttons. Power, Overlay, Reset and Park. "Power" is to switch on the system, "Overlay" puts a frame and recording data on the screen, including REC, Timecode, Resolution, Camera Coordinates, Airspeed, Heading, Altitude, Track, (camera) Pitch & Zoom "Park" will foldup and store the camera rearwards, "Reset" will set the camera to it's forward "ready" mode. Left small knob is the "Zoom"... 0%-100% Right is the knob/joystick to adjust the camera angle, ROLL, ROTATE and UP and DOWN angles. All the camera movement controls can be set as commands, for keyboard or joystick (HAT) actions, this allows easier control while flying. The CINEFLEX is expertly done, and a great addition to the 407. ___________ Flying the Bell 407 If you open the JRX 407, it will have the annoying habit of just shutting down again? even if the "Start with engines running" tickbox is active. There is a trick here... The issue is caused by the "Idle" button and throttle being set to closed, this is the shutoff point to kill the engine. To start you have to de-click the "IDLE-REL" and give the 407 a bit of throttle (80). Once running, then you can go back to the idle stop, but don't press the IDLE-REL, if not it will just shutdown the engine again... or your back to square one. The "Start" switch is on the same collective, and as long as the fuel is on, then a press and hold of the switch is all that is needed. At first you don't think it is going to fire, then at once around 50% NR rpm, the Allison 250-C47 turbio-shaft engine (813 shp (606 kW)) gets itself together and your in the flying business... its all a FADEC-controlled engine (Full Authority Digital Engine Control), as the FADEC system is designed to reduce pilot work load and increase engine reliability by fully automating the start procedure, and holding engine parameters to tighter tolerances in flight. It feels excellent in this JRX machine... .... then twisting the throttle to "FLY" will increase the NR % to 100% Does the JRX 407 sound good... brilliant in fact. The start whine is excellent, so is the throttle adjustments through the spectrum, then the full rpm chop is really, really good, I've flown on a 407 (and a 206) and it is as good as you will get. I couldn't get any noisy internal blade slap, but external blade sounds in movement when in flight manoeuvres are excellent. Whoa! off the ground with a bit of slight cyclic back, and a feel upwards movement of the collective, and you go into a perfect hover... ... "Oh I like this!" I've had my time with wiggly nervous helicopters for a fair while, "This one is smooooth". Already happy, a bit more collective and a push forward of the cyclic and you are up & away. 206/407 usually need a bit of low nose to get them moving... not too much here and the speed builds very quickly. Bell later replaced the tail rotor pedals with the taller and slightly closer-to-the-pilot versions, as many pilots complained they were too high, as they preferred the 206 pedals than the 407's. The Bell 407 has a maximum speed of 140 kn (160 mph, 260 km/h), with an economical cruise speed of 133 kn (153 mph, 246 km/h). The range is 324 nmi (373 mi, 600 km) with a service ceiling of 18,690 ft (5,700 m). There is the vibration option... OFF is no vibration, x1 is not really a lot, x2 is about perfect as x3 is very, very noticeable shaking, really it feels like your blades are coming loose! I was very impressed with the Autopilot Unit or Stability Augmentation Systems (SAS). It has had some fine tuning in v1.10, but it felt fine to me... you can LVL (Level) then hit the AP, then HDG (Heading) and ALT (Altitude) and the transition in flight is excellent, only a slight lift as you go to the auto system. V/S (Vertical Speed) changes are 5 points either way, but honestly, if your not climbing high, then unlock the ALT and add a little collective to go up, then reselect ALT at your set altitude, the same to go down with less collective. Coming out of auto is good as well, but you need to disconnect the HDG and ALT selections before you disconnect the AP itself for a smooth transition, or it bumps coming out. Heading changes under the SAS are nice and smooth, long and with not any tight jumpy turns, so excellent... yes very impressed. Really the 407 is so nice to fly manually (balanced when trimmed), you won't rely on the SAS, it is a relaxing controls machine, even distances are easy. Time to head back to the Jay Stephen Hooper Memorial Heliport. The 407 has a reputation for solid control feel in flight. That, combined with plenty of power, makes the 407 a real performer. The 206 (Jetranger) feels heavier than the 407 on the controls, so most pilots prefer the 407's flight control’s hydraulic boost, it is quite heavy if you turn the assisted system off. The Bell 407 is not a low-inertia system, it is also not a high-inertia system either like the JetRanger. So the feel is set somewhere in between, in making your approach it can be quite different. Autorotating the 407 going down I found there was still a high degree of maneuverability during the glide (power off), then the transition to Effective translational lift (ETL) was okayish, as you have to be aware on the loss of speed to avoid too much sink, so it's best to transition further out than closer to the pad in case of a sudden loss of lift. The flare and touchdown also requires a different technique than in the JetRanger. Timing is more critical because less energy is stored in the lighter-weight spinning rotors and the more collective pitch is used to cushion the helicopter’s touchdown. In addition, the pilot holds the helicopter in a nose-high attitude and touches down on the heels of the skids. It’s a fairly standard procedure for a lower-inertia rotor. One warning though is the 407 in the low hover is very susceptible to the swing effect, "Mast Bumping" is only present with a 2 blades rotor ...like R22 , R44, B206, but I found here the pendulum effect was very pronounced, the wrong (too heavy) input, and the 407 will swing quite violently, with the obvious results, so keep the final inputs extremely small, even pull away and do a new approach to get the procedure right. A few hours rest and I am airborne again, now twilight... The 407's external lighting is excellent, except for in one area. There is a "Landing" light in the nose, and two amazing flashing strobes underside, rear red beacon and Navigation/Strobes on the horizontal stabiliser fences, the best though are the fantastic "Logo" spots on the side, I totally absolutely loved the lit logo look at night! It is mostly excellent, but the collective switch "Spotlight" created nasty ant lit marks all around the nose and windscreen, so you need to keep it switched off. Now darker, and I am cruising low and fast over the Freeways & Highways Los Angeles County... my favorite Heli-Pilot pastime, the 407 is simply brilliant here, easy to cruise... did I say fast. In roles (or role-play) you are restricted here by the JRX door arrangement, there are no sliding doors on the rear, and not being able to individually remove, say the rear left door, restricts your role playing. Scouting for "News" I am playing a version of the "Nightcrawler", yes the movie , as I love this livery and the cruising above the LA landscape at night. I would have loved an open door, even a cameraman shooting the streets, but there is not even a Medi-Vac version, so it all feels all a bit limited if you wanted to be part of the action. So the JRX Bell 407 is excellent to fly, even say a novice could handle the aircraft and enjoy it's abilities... too benign, no I didn't get that feeling at all, it just felt right and the 407 was a totally enjoyable dynamic experience... then what a way to end the night flying with a visit to that famous "Hollywood" sign... perfect. _____________ Summary The Bell 407 is a four-blade, single-engine, civil utility helicopter that uses the four-blade, soft-in-plane design rotor with a composite hub. So the breed line is from the famous "Jetranger", but the 407 is the far bigger and more powerful relation to the family. The release(s) of the JRX 407 here are separate for both the X-Plane 12 version or the X-Plane 11 version, as they are not packaged together. So make your choice wisely as they both cost the same. JRX Design are now very accomplished developers, the Bell 407 is their third release for the X-Plane Simulator, after the earlier dual SA 341B and SA 342J Gazelle and the Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 DBS-4. Notably the aircraft is created to a very high standard, beautiful modeling and lovely intricate details to scale. However rivets and engine fences are images and not 3d, but the main exterior bolts are modeled. Rotor hub is exceedingly well designed, but only has semi-animations for (twist) collective, and tail yaw. Glass is excellent (maybe the rear windows are bit dark) and there are no reflections disable for the internally or externally for the windows. Cabin and instruments are exceptionally well done, and all is very quality work in feel and look, but there are restrictions with only a singe door hide, and there are not many options for different fitout versions (Medi-Vac, lift hook) and role-playing that is mostly common with Helicopter packages. Lighting internally and externally is again excellent, but for ant whites around the frames with the spotlight feature. Although the official Bell 407 Manual and Procedures are very nice (authentic), a JRX Design manual was also required here. The updated v1.30 also comes with the sensational CINEFLEX camera system, hung on the nose, you have a full control of the camera and it's storage, v1.30 also has some other nice visual and menu tweaks as well. The JRX Bell 405 flies very well, I loved it as it was certainly not a edgy machine to fly, too benign, no I don't think so, so great for first timers and novice fliers, performance and dynamics feel also perfect. Would I like JRX Design to also do the famous 206 Jetranger? After this 407 I certainly think so, as it would be an excellent idea to do a fly off of their different capabilities, but more options overall would be nice. I love the 407, to a point now it is my current favorite helicopter to fly, I don't love niggly machines, I want to fly, hover and do things without the stress, throw in the sheer quality and X-Plane 12 realism and the JRX Bell 407 is a worthy winner... highly recommended. ________________ The Bell 407 by JRX Design v1.30 is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : JRX Bell 407 for X-Plane 12 Priced at US$35.99 Requirements X-Plane 12 (not for XP11. If you want the XP11 version, get it here ) Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.4 GB Current Version: 1.30 (January 28th 2024) JRX Bell 407 for X-Plane 11 Priced at US$35.99 Requirements X-Plane 11 (not for XP12. if you want the XP12 version, get it here) Windows, Mac or Linux - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.4 GB Current Version: 1.30 (January 28th 2024) Installation and documents: download for the JRX Bell 407 is 1.38 Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "Helicopters" X-Plane folder. Full Installation is 2.76Gb AviTab Plugin is required for this aircraft Documents supplied are: JRX Bell 407 - READ ME.txt Bell 407 - Operational Evaluation Board Report.pdf Bell 407 - Pilot Ground and Flight Procedures.pdf Bell 407 - Rotorcraft Flight Manual.pdf JRX BELL 407 - END-USER LICENSE AGREEMENT (EULA).txt Documentation consists of three official documents that cover the 407 Flight Manual, Pilot Ground and Flight Procedures and Operational Evaluation Board Report... but there is no JRX 407 Aircraft manual, that was badly needed and certainly required here. Designed by JRX Design Support forum for the JRX B407 Review System Specifications:  Windows - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.09rc3 (This is a Release Candidate review). Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - Hooper Heliport (58CA) - ___________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton' 6th January 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  11. NEWS! - Scenery Released : ZSJN - Jinan Yaoqiang Intl Airport XP12 by NSS Scenery Studios Noted as the "first official commercial airport project of the NSS scenery studio", this is ZSJN - Jinan Yaoqiang Intl Airport. This unique Chinese airport is now released for the X-Plane 12 Simulator (X-Plane 11 version is not available) Jinan Yaoqiang International Airport is the airport serving Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province, China. The airport is located approximately 33 kilometres (21 mi) northeast of the city center and immediately to the north of the Yaoqiang Subdistrict after which the airport is named. By road, the airport is connected to the Jinan Ring, Beijing–Shanghai, and Qingdao–Yinchuan Expressways. Jinan Yaoqiang International Airport was completed and opened to traffic on July 26, 1992, and the latest expansion project of the airfield was completed in October 2000. The new terminal opened in March 2005 while The South Finger Gallery project of the terminal was launched in 2010. Features Terminal building model based on references as data support Manual adjusted airport lighting system (accuracy of 90%) Accurate taxiway markings Extremely fine airport ground Dynamic auto jetway with a large amount of details (including canopy animation) Automatic marshals Four dynamic hangar doors Global localization of vehicles Off site random dynamic traffic flow Manually modeled off-site buildings Amount of scenery details can be changes according to needs The scenery features an accurate rendition of the airport, with custom ground textures, accurate taxiway markings, custom jetways, custom night lighting, automatic marshaling, landside buildings, and lots more. Images and video are courtesy of NSS Scenery Studios ________________________ Yes! ZSJN - Jinan Yaoqiang Intl Airport XP12 by NSS Scenery Studios is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : SJN - Jinan Yaoqiang Intl Airport XP12 Price is US$22.00 Requirements X-Plane12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB RAM Minimum, 8GB+ Recommended Download Size: 1.4 GB Version: 1.0 (Feb 9th 2024) ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 13th February 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  12. NEWS! - Expansion Package REP for DHC-2 Beaver I was a little surprised to see a Reality Expansion Package for the Thranda Design DHC-2 Beaver? Reasons being is that the Thranda design is already a very highly developed aircraft, a high quality Simulation in the first place. One that comes with a very long list of features, so why did it need a REP pack? REP packages are for me, to bring default and sparsely developed aircraft a host of better performance and features up to a higher standard. But here we have them (with Thranda's blessing) and it comes with an extremely long list of performance enhancements and mostly crash and damage effects. Ultra Realistic Flight & Ground Dynamics Realistic stall speeds & behavior Correct climb speeds Realistic cruise speeds Real World Weight & Balance Realistic taxi behavior with realistic spring-loaded/free-castoring tailwheel Complex Damages System Triggered by the pilot actions Based on real world data Target every system in the aircraft Meant to teach you how to correctly manage an airplane Economic System Can be enabled/disabled on the fly Earn virtual money when you fly Use virtual money to buy fuel and do maintenance/repairs Realistic fuel prices around the World Fully compatible with FSEconomy and X-CPL-Pilot More info at https://www.simcoders.com/reality-expansion-pack/economy Custom Towing System Driven by the joystick/steering wheel Realistic point of view (POV) Interacts with tie-down and brakes Interactive Walkaround Cockpit checks Lights checks Engine soft cover removal Aileron, rudder, elevator and flaps check Tire check and choks removal Tie-down removal Pitot tube check Engine cowl check Floats and water rudder check Realistic Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior Engine Logic 100% Custom engine model Realistic power output for given manifold pressure/RPM settings Realistic propeller animations as never seen before on X-Plane Realistic booster coil Switch between conventional and Bendix-Stromberg pressure carburetor (with automatic mixture) Correct fuel consumption Oil System: 1. Realistic oil viscosity 2. Interchangeable oil type 3. Oil pump failures 4. Realistic oil filter Fuel System: 1. Realistic wobble pump 2. Realistic fuel pressure behavior 3. Realistic fuel filter 4. Realistic primer Starter Realistic startup procedure Automatic startup procedure for newbies Realistic engine temperatures Fuel Flooding simulation The engine parts wear down when not managed correctly Engine Preheater The engine may be warmed up upon start with the provided electrical heater Once activated, the electrical heater runs even when you close the simulator Realistic Landing Gear The landing gear is damaged by hard landings The brakes and tires are damaged if not managed correctly The steering wheel acts like the real one. Spring loaded under 35° of turn, then free castoring. Electrical & Avionics System Native Virtual Reality Support Complete support of new X-Plane SDK 3.0 Menu visible in VR Windows visible in VR Learn with the in-flight tips A non invasive tip with a suggestion about the conduct of the flight is shown when you are not flying the airplane properly A non invasive tip with a suggestion on how to recover the problem is shown when you damage the airplane Custom simulation of Hypoxia Tunnel vision Hard breathing Popup Kneeboard Normal operations checklist Emergency operations checklist Reference tables (speed, fuel consumption etc.) May be shown/hidden with mouse gestures Simulation state saving Every single switch and lever position restores its position when you reload the aircraft The battery may discharge if you leave it on and then close X-Plane The engine restores its cylinders and oil temperature basing on the elapsed time between restarts Maintenance Hangar Engine maintenance tab Electrical systems maintenance tab Landing gear, brakes & tires tab Instruments tab Economic System tab HeadShake Integration REP drives HeadShake to simulate the correct vibrations of the Wasp Junior engine Developed with love Coded by real pilots Very easy on FPS Written in C++ with no compromises It is an extremely long list of enhancements, and an interesting experiment on how to make the Beaver a much more realistic Simulation. Most of the changes and access to features are done via the "Clipboard menu... This is an add-on to the DHC-2 Beaver - DGS Series XP12. It will not work on the Thranda DHC-2 Beaver XP11 or any other aircraft. X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Developed by Simcoders support forums for the REP DHC-2 Beaver _________________________  The Reality Expansion Pack for DHC-2 Beaver XP12 by SimCoders is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Reality Expansion Pack for DHC-2 Beaver XP12 Priced at US$29.95 Customers who own the Reality Expansion Pack for DHC-2 Beaver XP11, can get the new XP12 version for 30% off. Coupon code can be found in the original invoice. Requirements: This is an add-on to the DHC-2 Beaver - DGS Series XP12. It will not work on the Thranda DHC-2 Beaver XP11 or any other aircraft. X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Current version: XP 12 - 4.8.2 (February 10th 2024) ________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 13th February 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved.
  13. Release Classic Aircraft Review : Aircruiser 66-75 by Hangar 23 (note this review has now been updated to include v1.1 : Classic Aircraft Review Updated : Aircruiser 66-75 v1.1 by Hangar 23) Very early classic aircraft are very interesting, more so when they are so rare. This aircraft is about as rare as you could could imagine, only 23 of them were built between 1930 and 1938. But they have a significant place in Aviation history, only to be replaced by the United States federal regulations that prohibited single-engine transports on United States airlines, virtually eliminating future markets for the Aircruiser. Bellanca Aircruiser and Airbus were high-wing, single-engine aircraft built by Bellanca Aircraft Corporation of New Castle, Delaware. The aircraft was built as a "workhorse" intended for use as a passenger or cargo aircraft. It was available with wheels, floats or skis. The aircraft was powered by either a Wright Cyclone or Pratt or a Whitney Hornet engine. The Airbus and Aircruiser served as both commercial and military transports. The first Bellanca Airbus was built in 1930 as the P-100. An efficient design, it was capable of carrying 12 to 14 passengers depending on the cabin interior configuration, with later versions carrying up to 15. The Aircruiser's distinctive shape, gave it the moniker of "The Flying Ws" and this hardy design was still flying in Canada well into the 1970's . Is it a Bi-Plane, sort of, as the lower W is still a part aerodynamic surface. When you look at the design closely, it is extremely clever in holding up and bracing the main wing, as for also being a support for the landing wheels. The Aircruiser is a "Tail-Dragger", most were back in this 1930's period, but the early evolution of the multi-seat passenger aircraft is highly perceivable, back in the day, it was, still is a very innovative design. For an aircraft, it looks heavy, but sturdy is probably the best description Hangar 23 is a not really a new entrant to the X-Plane Developers affiliation, but a ex-TorqueSim developer. Still the Aircruiser is an interesting one in the choice of aircraft to debut their talents in doing their own Studio. Technical information of the Aircruiser is rare, but there are two surviving in existence, "CF-BTW," a 1938 model in the Ericson Collection in Madras, Oregon, incredibly the aircraft is still airworthy. The second is "CF-AWR" named the "Eldorado Radium Silver Express", built in 1935, and is under restoration at the Western Canada Aviation Museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Installation The download for the Aircruiser is 1.18GB, with an installation of 1.38Gb. But the installation file/folder system is a slightly complicated. Hangar 23 has selected to put the main Aircruiser file within a folder of a folder? So the first folder is "Aircraft" followed by a folder named "Hangar 23" , with the actual "Aircruiser" aircraft folder inside, or buried in layers of folders? Honestly the first "Aircraft" folder is not required, so just install the "Hangar 23" Folder directly into your X-Plane "Aircraft" folder with the Aircruiser folder inside. All the installation notes are in the excellent manual, but the doubled up "Aircraft" folder creates confusion... Detail and modeling For an aircraft of this size, an installation size of 1.38Gb can only mean one thing, quality in detail. Remember this is a first time effort from Hangar 23, but the detail and quality is outstanding. Both an X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 versions are included in the package, but it is the XP12 version on show here with it's more exponential PBR (Physical Based Rendering) effects and lighting. And it really blows you away. X-PlaneReviews are usually quite lenient when the studio name is new, in overlooking sometimes even the obvious mistakes or poor areas of first time production... But already with the quality of work behind Ulrich, you go straight into the "Masters" level, but this is still a first release from Hangar 23 is just outstanding... and an highly impressive debut for the Studio! And all with an aircraft so rare... the beauty of Simulation is that iconic and classical aircraft can be recreated, their forgotten time, brought back and to live again, or in this case fly again. At the core of this Aircruiser Simulation is just that very aspect, bringing the past alive again for you to absorb and interact with. But this is outstanding work... all the wing braces and support wires are sensationally done, every bolt, castle nut and Cotter Split Pins, are modeled here in detail, leading edge panels are worn and authentic, the struts in detail are excellent, you have to admire it all. If you are a detail junkie, who loves to spend time investigating the quality of the work, then you will love this aircraft, as it's a museum piece brought alive. The massive top wing looks canvas, and you can see the frame that the material covers, it's a lovely formed wing as well. Actually two separate wings, attached to the fuselage. This was the golden age of innovation for aircraft, the transition from wood, canvas to metal, so you get sometimes the mixture of the two eras in the one development as the changes moved on forward. The detail is just gobsmacking. The panels are perfect and so are the bolts that hold them in place, windows and it's thick glass are worn and glazed to perfection... The Cyclone SGR-1820 it is rated at 760 hp, as is the giant three-bladed geared propeller, and all gloriously there to admire. The engines internal intricate detail of metal and brass pipework is very impressive. The Aircruiser is flat sided, there are no curves in the doors and the windows are more nautical portholes than aircraft, but it's all beautifully done, and it is all built like a tank! The two main landing wheels hubs, tyres are massive, but simplistic as well, detail is right down to large CirClip to hold the rim onto the hub. There are four doors that can be opened, two small high cockpit access doors, one left passenger door, and a very big odd A shaped cargo door... all four doors are so authentic to the design, with the Cargo door in two sections that folds. Honestly, it is like a flying shed inside, totally weird. The interior is impressively done, metal and wood dominate, SO much weight in the construction, how did this thing get off the ground? It's all metal piping and blocks of wood, many trees were felled in the creation of the interior, a far, far cry from the ultra clean, state-of-the-art LED lighting Airbus interiors... this is doing it rough. The passenger seats are a pipeframe, with a strung canvas seat, you wouldn't want to go to far on them. Pilot seats are a metal bucket, the pilot gets the luxury of a cushion, the CoPilot the hard metal base. The cushion is required not for comfort, but to be elevated to see over the extremely high instrument panel. The yoke is a big hefty iron thing, beautifully skillfully designed and modeled, you can hide it via a hotspot centre yoke. The side quadrant is again excellent, with the Throttle (T), Propeller (P) and Mixture (M) levers, notable that in 90 years the controls are still as relevant then as now. Lower rudder pedals are also big hefty iron contraptions, you need to be Popeye with his strong arms and legs to match, to fly the Aircruiser. Notable are the two trim winders, one left for pitch/elevator adjustment, and another on the forward roof for the rudder trim. Point to make is that there is no visual trim setting, so you don't know if they are both centred or not, but a guide is two full winder rotations each way. Note the old fashioned brake lever and flap selector handle. Main instrument panel is amazing, this is simply a panel with inset instruments that is highly authentic. Note the boxed Whiskey Compass Again the layout is quite familiar... with a Standard Six layout. Top left is the Airspeed Indicator (MPH/KNTS), Vertical Speed Indicator (V/S), very basic Rate of Turn Indicator, below offset is a Directional Vacuum Gyro (Heading), Altmeter and Horizontal Reference (bank). Far left is a RPM dial, Manifold Pressure, and top right a CYL TEMP. Right panel has Volts, OAT (Outside AirPressure), Oil Temp/Pressure and Fuel Pressure... top Ignition Switch, Fuel Gauges (twin), PPH (Pounds Per Hour) fuel flow and a ELGIN clock. Lower left are a row of switches that cover Battery, Generator, Nav (lights), Landing (light), Starter, Coil Booster, Fuel Pump, Panel Lights and Cabin Light. Far, far left is the fuel tank cock; Both, Left & Right. It's all so impressively well done, the flaked tired black metal facia is very authentic to an aged old aircraft of this generation. Menu There is a banner menu "Hangar23Aircruiser" that has two menu options; "Options" and "GPS Style" Options: There are six options, Autopilot Toggle, Strain Gauge Toggle, Real Autorudder Toggle, Steerable Tailwheel, Show Pilot and Use Clipboard. The Aircruiser comes with a very basic 2-Axis "Sparrow" Autopilot, basically a set "Holds" Pitch and Roll Rate. Second option is to add on a "Strain Gauge" or Trim indicator. Both are positioned lower centre panel We will go more into the "AutoRudder" in flight, but if you want to disconnect or activate the the AutoRudder you can do so via the menu option, you can also use the hotspot on the (front) Whiskey Compass to do the same action. The Tailwheel is steerable by the rudder pedals, but if you want a free castoring wheel, you can disconnect it via the "Steerable Tailwheel" option. There is the option to show or hide the pilot. He is fully animated in rudder and pitch (forwards & backwards) and seems to have his hands full in controlling the aircraft, he is very good here and well done. Next in the "options" menu is the "Use Clipboard". In the right side pocket there is a VR (Virtual Reality) clipboard (also clickable). This really the "Fuel & Weights" menu... as you can adjust the fuel and Pilots, Passenger, Cargo weights by scrolling them in. They can be set in Lbs or Kgs and the "Load", "Empty" (weight) and Full Gross weight can be seen. You can "Save" your settings, and then "Load" them. Another note is that between flights the Aircruiser will save and reload the same settings to the next flight, until you adjust them. Last two separate items on the "Options" menu are "Reset AP Tuning" (Autopilot on/off) and "Reset AutoRudder Tuning", resets the rudder position to central. An option not shown in the menus, is that if the power is switched off, then the chocks are positioned on the front wheels. The second setting of the menu tab is the "GPS Style", here you can select between the Laminar GNS 530 GPS, or one of the two RXP (Realistic) GNS 530 or GNS 750 GPS units if you have that external additional option. I don't have the Realistic option so that install is not visible here. The GPS units are position on the roof forward, with also a default custom style COMM radio above, and a Transponder panel below. ____________ Flying the Aircruiser 66-75 You can't at all see out of the Aircruiser, the long nose is way up there, blocking any view, as the tail is way back down there behind you. The only option is to lean very far left to try to see the ground. You would think the Aircruiser being so old-fashioned would be a pain to start, but it's quite benign and easy as long as you do the right procedure. Fuel on "Both", Fuel Pump on, then the most important switch, the "Boost Coil" switch to on. Mixture just to above the (Auto) lean red marker... then up the "Starter" switch, the prop will turn, then gradually fire into a running engine... Both the start up and shutdown of the Cyclone SGR-1820 is exceptional, no fast artificial start or shut down here, but it all comes with stutters and engine positions that are very noticeable, as is the churn of the starter motor against the pressures "clock", "clocking" of the starting engine, its a great and a very realistic re-enactment of the starting, and then the stutter of the engine shutting down, I loved it. I have a horrible history of trying to control tail-draggers, spinning loose tail-wheels have given me loads of grief. But not here though... as mentioned you can disconnect the tail-wheel to be free, if you love that uncontrollable chaos. But for the rest of us the tail-wheel acts through the rudder pedals, but also through the usual "Tiller" yaw. This makes the Aircruiser very easy to manoeuvre around on the ground or on taxiways. Braking and the toe-brakes work normally as well. For once you not fighting the aircraft on the ground to go into the direction you want, but the view internally is hard work to keep it all on the narrow taxiway. So you have a habit of visually taxiing externally until you understand the aircraft more. Very important is to adjust the rudder trim 50%, or a full winder turn to the right. The SGR-1820 is a very powerful force on takeoff, the asymmetric thrust is huge, it pulls you so hard to the left, that even full rudder is required off the line... The Aircruiser for all it's massive weight is sprightly off the line, your working the pedals to find the right balance to keep the aircraft straight, it does thankfully nicely change direction tail-wise to your inputs, very quickly the tail is up at 40 MPH, and there is tons of lift from those wings, at 60 MPH+ and your now flying. The point from "off the line" to "Airborne" is very short, so no flaps are required, time to adjust your direction is short as well... so once off the ground I was already veering right away from the runway, I didn't try to correct it, but just went with the flow and climbing turn, then leveled it all out straighter when higher. With practise with your rudder inputs you could keep it in more of a straight line out... it's a total feel thing, a feel for the aircraft. Pitch trimming is nice, but I recommend a keyboard input than the badly positioned side wall-winder, same for the rudder trim on the roof. You have so much power, the Aircruiser is super fast for an aircraft of this size and age... it's a very physical aircraft to fly, you use the rudder all the time, then finally finding the right amount of input to keep the aircraft in a straight line, a tough idea, with the amount of asymmetric thrust coming at you all the time. The 66-75, as featured here, could produce up to 730 hp from sea level through 5800 ft, where then the power built higher to ~760 hp Maximum speed is 144 kn (165 mph, 266 km/h), (but it feels far faster), Range is an amazing 608 nmi (700 mi, 1,130 km), and the Service ceiling is 22,000 ft (6,700 m), but the average cruising altitude is around 10,000ft, still fast and high for a 90 year old design. Hangar 23 has provided a tool, called the "AutoRudder function", a sort of A.I. tool to take the strain out of flying the Aircruiser. On the ground the rudder control functions as usual. So it was important to properly trim the aircraft prior to takeoff and landing. In flight, the autorudder system then takes control of the rudder, and will attempt to keep a slip angle as dictated by the yaw axis of the joystick. This allows the pilot to slip the aircraft even while the autorudder is active, such that even crosswind operations become possible with the system active. In other words it flies like the X-Plane tool when you have no yaw axis joystick, the wings are connected to the rudder. This gauge will merely prompts the pilot on the direction of trim needed to take load off the “servos”. Unlike the autopilot, the autorudder does not disconnect under a high strain, nor is it dependent upon the aircraft’s electrical system to operate (Cable operation). When activated (via the menu, or Compass) the autorudder has a visible gauge, located on the yaw trim handle base plate. If you are going to deactivate the autorudder during normal flight, first adjust the rudder trim according to the strain gauge, otherwise a very sudden and very unpleasant disconnection will occur. It works very well... but switched off the AirCruiser has a habit of yawing left, almost going around in circles.... You can try to trim it out? but it's hard to find a neutral flight, I did find a position input that worked, slight right rudder and slight stick right as well, but it's tiring for any distance, short or long... the AutoPilot is not much better, tricky to use is to centre the heading. You adjust via the "Roll" or "Up/Dn" switches, as per the three lights, red (left), white (centre) and green (right). But there is a delay in the operation that can make you over trim, I never quite mastered it... so again even on the Autopilot, I went into a slight bank in left handed circles and couldn't the aircraft fly in a straight line unless under manual control. It's the sort of tool that all of a sudden you will understand it and get it right, with time and persistence. This system is like the Sperry Type A-3A. You will need to trim the aircraft perfectly, so the heading is as close to where you want to go and level, flying as straight as you can, then turn on the AP, trying to trim later while the Autopilot is active is a far harder situation. Lighting Lighting internally and externally is basic, which is to be expected. There is one switch for the instrument lights, and another switch for the cabin lights, two spider-web looking ones forward and two roof lights rear, it all looks quite nice at night... The GPS install looks bright and also odd in this old cabin, but it's very well done and easy to use. Externally there are only again two light switches... Navigation, red, green and white tail, the other light is a left wing mounted Landing light, that look and is quite effective. There are no strobes or beacon lights on the aircraft... Flight notes by Hangar 23 notes "DAY - NIGHT* - VFR... *Poor visibility and the antiquated aircraft lighting scheme will present additional challenges during night flights". In other words it is not really an aircraft to be flown in the dark... Sounds... are a bit of a mixed bag. Overall they are excellent, the startup is an aural experience, and so is shutdown, external engine noises are very good right through the range of power outputs, that's the good. The poor is the buzzy interior sounds, that have a sameness of a consistent droning buzz with no fluctuations, even over a short distance I was distracted or even bored with the noise, The Aircruiser maybe really like that in the air, but I didn't really connect with them. The lower power outputs (on the throttle) are however better. Notable is the Aircruiser engine’s 16:11 gear ratio, for the propeller spins slower than the engine, but all readouts and aural sounds are based on the engine and adjustments should be made according to engine state rather than calculated propeller RPM. Time to head back to Shoreham (EGKA). A tricky place to lineup, for the mass of trees around the field. All the runways are hidden from view... .... if the system is active on final approach, the autorudder will check if the rudder trim has been appropriately set for the upcoming power reduction. If the trim is not suitably centered, the system will intervene and reset the rudder trim to near center. This may be noted by the clicking of the trim’s chain drive, as well as a mild rolling tendency during finals. Myself I turned the automation off to feel the aircraft on the approach phase, plus a single wind of the rudder trim, to reset it as it was on the takeoff phase. The handling felt normal, as did the approach. If however the autorudder is active, then it will disconnect on landing. Nose up to rub off the speed, as there is no "white flap use zone", I guessed in setting the flaps to below 100 MPH, actually below 90 MPH, and you get a slight lift on each extension... but the transition now down to 80MPH with now a slight descent into Shoreham it all felt perfect. The flap lever or floor handle is extremely well done. It's both a brake handle and Flap handle in one. Over the coastline, and there is still no visual on the runways. Then finally the field is in view.... so I drop, in also trying to miss the treeline. ... but I realise I am too high, and becoming too fast in trying to get down to the grass strip. It's still a very good try.... but I have to abort and climb out! I will note the throttle inputs. If the Aircruiser is trimmed (correctly, or well). The Throttle control is very, very good, as you can control the height via the power. Full power to climb out was excellent (after that slight delay), but I found the Aircruiser to be quite normal in the approach/landing phase as any other heavy single-engined General Aviation aircraft. However you have to be aware of the weight around you with using the throttle power, and that tendency to yaw right with the huge power increase, but you soon adapt to the characteristics and the personality of the aircraft... fun? yes immensely, also a challenge to get the skills right in this cockpit. I didn't want to lose sight of the field layout, now I had found it. So it was a tight turn around back to the other opposite threshold. But be aware that too tight a bank and the Aircruiser will slip badly and lose height towards the lowered wing, there a sweet spot to find in the bank and before the slip starts to emerge, all this is required to get the best rotation of the aircraft. Lower and slower this time.... and it feels right. Then slowly descend, descend "keep it steady" and I touch around 65 MPH, I am not to worried about the speed, as the Aircruiser on grass will dramatically drag itself slower. Toe brakes are still the best tool to stop the aircraft rotating hard right, then left on you, as this happens once the tail goes down, it's tricky, but with practise it works in keeping you straight... I'm down, and arrested before the end of the grass strip... not bad I say. Liveries There are six liveries, one Blank (default), and two liveries that are blank white, but one has a metal nose cover, and another has the same metal nose cover & metal tanks. All are nostalgic except the off soft purple Landmark? _____________ Summary Extremely rare aircraft are always interesting, this Bellanca Aircruiser or Airbus, is one of the rarest as only 23 aircraft were built between 1930 -1938, it is also the famed "The Flying W" and this hardy design was still flying in Canada well into the 1970's. Hangar 23 is a not really a new entrant to the X-Plane Developers affiliation, but a ex-TorqueSim developer. And this unusual rare aircraft is their first project for the newly-named studio and the X-Plane Simulator. The Aircruiser is available as two separate packages for both X-Plane 12 (as shown here) and X-Plane 11. The quality here with the Hangar 23 Bellanca aircraft is very much on show, as it is highly developed and polished. Modeling is absolutely first rate and the detail is highlighted by this experienced and mature developer. As the aircraft is so rare, the detail in the reproduction is simply outstanding, to the point of recreating an era from a long time ago, and with a couple of modern tools thrown in as well, but not to the distraction of the authenticity of the original aircraft. Obviously this is a project of a labour of love, but still delivered with quality and polish. It is old fashioned in design, but the Aircruiser comes with so modern helpers like a "Sparrow" 2-Axis Autopilot, a custom AutoRudder feature, and GNS 530 GPS, and the option for Realistic RXP GNS 530 or GNS 750 GPS units. Tail-Wheel control can be via X-Plane style commands or free-castoring, that makes this aircraft easy for first time Tail-Dragger aircraft learning. Other options include Strain Gauges, Steerable Tailwheel, a fully animated Pilot and Clipboard with a Weights & Balance menu. The Aircruisers unorthodox design does make it a challenge to fly, but I have had far worse and more difficult machines to cope with in the past. The helpers of course help, but once you master that huge powerful force forward, the "Shed" like design is oddly very nice and involving to fly. I dispise Tail-Draggers, but loved the Aircruiser quite a lot, no, a really lot more. The quality performance and well thought out physics, do bring the totally unique experience alive. It is certainly a huge credit to the skills of the developer of what they have delivered here, certainly it is a very unique Simulation, but totally authentic as well, Secondly the release also shows off X-Plane 12's excellent dynamics and quality lighting. The Aircruiser 66-75 is very rare, but you can absorb yourself in this 1930's Golden Era of Aviation, and this aircraft is highly relatable to the same machine created over 90 Years ago.... Highly Recommended. ________________ The Aircruiser 66-75 by Hangar 23 is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here: Aircruiser 66-75 Price is US$29.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 (2 separate packages) Windows or Mac (Linux not supported) 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.0 (January 30th 2024) Download Size: 1.2 GB (each version) Aircraft download is 1.18Gb, and unpacked, then installed in your X-Plane Aircraft folder 1.38Gb. Authorization on startup is required Documents X-Plane Aircruiser Handbook.pdf The provided manual is excellent, a lot of detail, installation, setup and flying tips... even Limitations and Operations. Designed by Hangar 23 Support forum for the Aircruiser 66-75 ________________  Windows - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.09rc5 (This is a Release Candidate review). Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - EGKA - Shoreham - Brighton City Airport by NKdesign (X-Plane.orgStore) US$15.00 ________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 11th February 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  14. NEWS! - Aircraft Upgrade : vFlyteAir Cherokee 140 for X-Plane 12 vFlyteAir have upgraded their original Cherokee 140 to the X-Plane 12 Simulator. This is an upgrade, but earlier owners of Cherokee XP11 by vFlyteAir, can get this new model for 30% off the full upgrade price. The vFlyAir version of the Cherokee 140, is based on a real aircraft (like most vFlyteAir aircraft), so they all have a very authentic and quality aspects to the aircraft. Originally the vFlyteAir Cherokee 140 was split into three distinctive versions, Original (analog Instruments) and Modern (Glass Intruments) and a Trainer aircraft, these versions were later combined, but here for X-Plane 12 the "glass" panel, analog panel and traditional "trainer" panel) are all included in the same package. The Piper PA-28 Cherokee is a family of two-seat or four-seat light aircraft built by Piper Aircraft and designed for flight training, air taxi and personal use. The PA-28 family of aircraft comprises all-metal, unpressurised, single piston-engined airplanes with low-mounted wings and tricycle landing gear. They have a single door on the right side, which is entered by stepping on the wing. The PA-28 is the fourth most produced aircraft in history. The first PA-28 received its type certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration in 1960 and the series remains in production to this day. Current models are the Warrior, Arrow, and Archer TX and LX, and the Pilot 100 and 100i. The Archer was originally discontinued in 2009, but with investment from new company ownership, the model was put back into production in 2010. Features: Rebuilt and re-engineered for X-Plane 12 Pop-up interactive Options menu, dynamic Load Manager menu and Check Lists menu Three selectable instrument panel configurations ("glass" panel, analog panel and traditional "trainer" panel) Automatic integrated support for the optional RealityXP GTN 650 plugin or the RealityXP GNS430 plugin Guided, interactive pre-flight walk-around inspection with pop-up check lists. Visually check your fuel and oil levels! Remove wheel chocks and cowl plugs during the walk-around. Selectable pilot gender - copilot will be the opposite gender of the pilot Gauge glass and window glass can be hidden Custom shake and vibration effects - airfame and control surfaces shake when engine is running, when approaching a stall condition and upon touch-down Realistic engine start - if turned ON, requires pilot to follow the Cherokee 140 POH procedures for cold and hot engine startup Passengers can be hidden during flight if desired Automatic support for optional AviTab plugin Selectable wheel pants - if installed, the wheel pants reduce drag slightly Start From Cold & Dark option available on the Options menu Optional transparent yokes - if turned ON, the pilot and copilot yokes appear as see-through for a better view of the instrument panel Custom Tow Bar option - use the Tow Bar to push/pull and turn the airplane into your hanger! Quick Livery Change - quickly select a new livery from the Options menu Dynamic Load Manager menu allows the pilot to select pilot and passengers weights and add or remove fuel. A dynamic Center of Gravity chart shows your current loading. Optional Rear Seat - on the Load Manager menu, click on the rear bench seat to install it and to add a rear passenger Check Lists Menu allows the pilot to view the Piper PA28-140 check lists for all normal phases of flight Pop-up versions of the Aspen E5, Bendix/King KFC 230 autopilot and the AXP 340 transponder available by clicking on the instruments FMOD 2 Sound Effects - spatial 3D sounds and Doppler effects have been re-produced for compatibility with X-Plane 12 PBR textures - re-produced for X-Plane 12 compatibility Full high-resolution textures for all interior and exterior objects 3D Rain and Ice effects Full support for Virtual Reality 12 different liveries included - instrument panel tail number placard is updated with each livery change New updated Paint Kit available Updates are automated using the Skunkcrafts Auto-Updater Images are courtesy of vFlyteAir Designed by vFlyteAir Support forum for the Cherokee 140 _________________________  The Piper Cherokee PA140 for X-Plane 12 by VFlyteAir is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : vFlyteAir Cherokee 140 X-Plane 12 Priced at US$29.95 If you already own the Original Cherokee PA140 XP11 then you can update to this X-Plane12 version for 30% of the cost price, just go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account for the voucher Requirements: X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, mac or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Version 12.0 (February 9th 2024) ________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 10th February 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved.
  15. Great comment, go back to the core set up, see how it runs, then add in one component at a time, certainly with Plugins, the cause will stick out, I will say a few plugins that are essential like SAM are currently very buggy and are having no updates is a problem, this is causing a lot of anguish. But like I said do a core flight with a LR default aircraft A330 or B737, and see if you get the full clean Simulation, then work forward from there...
  16. Behind the Screen : January 2024 It's a fresh new year! Like I mentioned going out of 2023, I was going to do a complete clear out of my current X-Plane Application setup. It's a brave decision to be honest. The last month or so of November, and into December, then X-Plane v12.0.09rcWhatever was running famously really well. So do you upset the "apple cart", "ask for trouble" and "can set you back" with loads of more quotes that could cause you problems and issues, and ones you just don't need when you hit the heavy workload of a New Year. But the problem is that, X-Plane can get very grubby, fill itself up with tons of useless files and even files that fail. I'll explain that one. I found, that if a file is written over so many times on your storage, then slight bits of it's data can be lost. This goes back to those platter hard drive disks, in rewitten data being damaged, or the platter itself being worn by overuse. You of course do a defragment run and clean it up. I don't think it matters so much now with SSD drives, being the data is now hardwired. But if drives are saving multiple fragments across the drive, then sometimes bits, (pun intended) do get lost, things that should work, then don't I do, over the year, usually do a new "vanilla", or clean install of the X-Plane Simulator, but move only large portions of the segments. I just transfer from one install to the next one. Like the main content folders; Global Scenery, Aircraft, Custom Scenery and the current Plugins. But several transfers are the settings, like the X-Plane/output/preferences of "Keys" and "Joystick Settings"... why, because my keyboard and aircraft preference settings are complex and the layouts are numerous. But the problem is both settings are year on year old, transferred from one installation to the next, even from one computer to another. The data within them is tired, and I noted several times last year that the settings (preferences) were failing, mostly singularly, but still noticeable, in that I had to keep resetting the preferences. And this is where I get to the nervous bit, I needed to throw these tired old preference files away and do them all fresh from scratch, It sounds simple, but it isn't... there are a lot of hidden key tools set out in those settings, like swapping from a fixed wing aircraft to a helicopter, refined over the years to perfection. So I was contemplating doing a the full "Vanilla, Vanilla" reinstall.... the absolute clean slate one. Laminar Research has since added into the "X-Plane Installer" application, an option to "Install a Second Copy of X-Plane", which makes creating a new version easier. The old way was to download the "Demo" version, and add in the Global Scenery to make it a full Simulator version. This new way is not actually much different with a Second Copy, as you still transfer over the Global Scenery and main Aircraft, Custom Scenery and Plugin folders to create the running full version. But that original X-Plane Application was still very old, running nicely or not. You want to get the process done in a quiet time, as between reviews or content creation, then that is not the best time to start fixing and getting a non-working Simulator. So the down week between Christmas and New Year was the only option to get the rebuild done... so I pressed the "Install a Second Copy of X-Plane" and started the Download. The point to make in this article, it is not the main downloads that can cause you the heartache, actually it is the easiest part of the process. When I install a new X-Plane copy, I then run it, in it's basic form. Yes I transfer over the Global Scenery folder to make it a full Simulator, but I run it from scratch, with only loading in a default aircraft, usually the Cessna 172. First job is to update the New copy to the latest X-Plane version, which can take as long as the copy download... ... then test the framerate (usually off the scale) as the graphic settings are also set at their default settings. First things were to set up is my hardware, Joystick, throttle and rudder pedals. In the past I had just transferred the "Joystick Settings" prefs, and it was usually set ready to go. But here I was setting the prefs from a clean set of preferences. Part of the new installation is to find out if my Throttle hardware is playing up? 2023 was a difficult year with the Saitek X56 Throttle system. First it had a "Ghosting" issue (fixed by using a more powerful USB port), but from the middle of the year, the second throttle lever was not holding it's settings, but switching to the first throttle lever in the left lever, in then setting both throttles together. To separate them you had to pull out the throttle hardware USB plug, and move it into another (live) USB port, and it reset itself back to the separated dual levers. My thoughts were if the worn preferences were the cause of the issue (they weren't). With the hardware setup, I then reset my Graphic Settings. I always have a screenshot of my most efficient graphic settings, as if I want to experiment, I know how to get back to my best efficient setting layout. Running the new "vanilla" version is interesting to note the framerate (gains or losses thoughout the year), usually a gain. But it's also "fun", the return to your very first moment you flew the X-Plane Simulator, basic, but a fulfilling flying experience, with no distractions. Then you start adding in all the external extras, Plugins, Aircraft and then the massive Custom Scenery folder. Run it again... The trickiest part was after the main install. You have to calibrate all the external factors to the new installation. In fact this was the hardest part, resetting addresses to go to another destination. Navigraph, Charts, Skunkcraft's updater, Traffic Global, ToLiss data. Some were a pain, like Aerosoft (One) which wouldn't recognise the new install, and kept installing in the older one... the only option was to redownload every single scenery to the new location, time consuming, and in reality it shouldn't have needed to be done, as all the old stored scenery then had to be thrown away. In the New Year Laminar also did a overhaul of the dsf scenery, it was a big one, but not the full install. But the new install would not accept the partial update, only the full reinstall... 64Gb of it, but I pressed the "Update Scenery Online" and did it in three hours, but when running X-Plane, it noted it still required the new scenery install, so I did it again, with the same result, then I pressed it again and it did the full install again, now nine hours and 192 Gb of the same scenery three times over... thank god I have an unlimited download limit on my internet account, and unlimited patience... finally it registered it was installed. Then came the slow work of authorising all the aircraft in the new install, this adds up to around the 30+ aircraft plus plugins that needed to be reactivated, then the slow work of resetting the FMS Data Manager to new addresses... and on and on it went, two weeks into the New Year and I was still activating or changing addresses to the new install... haven't finished yet? My keyboard settings were all blank, that took a few hours to reinstall all the commands, then my Joystick slider and switch settings, another hour for that one, and the tons of small fixes like my FMS flightplans, Screenshot destinations, WebFMC..... agggh! Finally it was all done, a clean sweet install, and all new. Even now a month after there is still the odd address or aircraft to be reset, it's fix, fix, fix... I love X-Plane, but it is now so horribly complex, on how it all works is a miracle, but it does. Would I do this sort of extreme reinstall again, I'll be honest and I would think twice before I pressed the download button, but last year's version was burnt out and full of debris, it's what you have to do every few years. This Behind the Screen Edition is a little late, but reviews don't wait. Over the last weekend there was the announcement from Laminar Research at the Montreal developers conference, is that in the new X-Plane series (v12.1.0), Laminar they are inserting a store directly into the Simulator, a la MSFS. The ramifications of this change are quite significant. This will not be just a new added store to the X-Plane Universe, as the current set up is that the .Org (Store and .Org forums) are one planet revolving around the parallel Laminar Research planet of development. In the past Laminar didn't do the commercial side of the Simulator, except for selling a few cups and mugs, but are now moving into the commercial aspect, and one that could seriously upset the natural balance of the past... we will see how this significant aspect plays out, but my gut says Laminar has underestimated the complexities and the demands of users in running a store. I know, I have seen it first hand for a decade. There will be no "Behind the Screen" article posted for February 2024. I'm going on a well earned break for two weeks (floating around the Pacific), so the next BtheS edition will be posted on the 1st March 2024. Bon Voyage! Stephen Dutton 6th February 2024 Copyright©2024 X-Plane Reviews
  17. It's here https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/forums/topic/276924-g550-simbrief-profile/
  18. Aircraft Upgraded to X-Plane 12 : Beechcraft Duchess Model 76 by JustFlight Thranda If you want to fill a void that has been left by Carenado, then the best place to look to is JustFlight, the British based developers. Who work in conjunction with Thranda Design, and ironically also Thranda that used to do the X-Plane development for Carenado. This was in recreating a market for nice and authentic single prop, and twin-engined General Aviation aircraft. Covered by JustFlight/Thranda has been the Archer TX/LX, Archer lll, Warrior ll and the Arrow lll/lV. A few in the Archer TX and Archer lll have already been converted to X-Plane 12, but a lot of the JustFlight stable are only still X-Plane 11. A Twin-Engined aircraft that was released for X-Plane 11 in April 2019, was the Beechcraft Duchess Model 76. It was a very nice twin, and now here it has been extensively upgraded to X-Plane 12, note this is an upgrade, and earlier purchasers of the Duchess XP11 can get 10% discount off the new Duchess X-Plane 12 aircraft. The aircraft is developed out of the Beechcraft Musketeer family of single-engined aircraft family line, and at first glance you would be pushed to see any family resemblance, between the model 24 low-wing standard low elevator design to the Series 76 twin-engined high T-Tail configuration, and an all round far larger aircraft in a 32 ft 9 in (9.98 m) to 38 ft 0 in (11.58 m) wingspan and longer fuselage 25 ft 8 in (7.82 m) to the 76's 29 ft 0 1⁄2 in (8.852 m) overall length. But get down into the parts catalogue and you would be amazed on how many of the same spec are on both aircraft. Its main rival is the Cessna 310 and other references in this category include the PA-30 Twin Comanche and the PA-34 Seneca V. The original Duchess looked really great in X-Plane 11, but the Model 76 now jumps out at you far more with the X-Plane 12 lighting effects, you never get used to it, it has that extremely visible realism factor in the better PBR lighting. Also notable here are that the textures both external and internal are now 8K, and used here to produce a far higher texture clarity, and you notice the difference immediately... vibrantly. Note the newer 8K textures actually use less framerate than the old double 4K textures, in the way they are produced and used here, a Thranda development speciality. Modeling and detail was also good, but again it is all the more highlighted here (that lighting thing!) the feel is actually Carenado, not Thranda... as with their other Cessnas and what not, that is not a bad thing, as that was Carenado's major attraction with the worn (if sometimes heavy) feel of their aircraft, or authenticity. Get in close and you won't at all be disappointed, it's perfection here with the aircraft skin and rivets, love that wing camber at a NACA 632A415 airfoil shape, so smooth and really well done... At this US40+ price your expecting a lot of high end quality, and yes it delivers here in buckets, as the detailing is very professionally and expertly done, as is the excellent glass, thickly tinted and lovely to look at, it all reflects with perfection (you can turn off the reflections, but why would you). The engine pods are also beautifully modeled, again those smooth curves scream out quality. They house two Lycoming O-360-A1G6D air-cooled flat-four engines, 180 hp(130 kW) each, and right through out the full production run 1978-1983 there was no updated or engine revisions, except for one in house turbo development aircraft. All the undercarriage came directly from the Musketeer spare parts bins, so it is exactly the same trailing link layout and structure, all the craftwork is expertly done in detail and animation, it is a complex gear system but fully realised here, with all the components highly visible. Two cabin doors open, and there is a rear baggage door, really nicely done with both external and internal door latches that work. Internally the layout is the same, but the materials are all very different. The X-Plane 11 Duchess had a very all grey (dull) interior design, here it is a dark blue cloth with slightly darker blue wall and door trimmings, roof is a weave texture mocha brown, with light grey walls... lovely in style and depth of an older period... the layout panels are actually very Carenado Bonanza, of which I love... classy! Instrument Panel The instrument panel doesn't have that 'wham bam, thank you mam" factor. that you are expecting... even if at first looking slightly flat, but get in and look at it all more closely, and the detail is extremely very well done. Dials are rusted, dusty and worn out, with plasters even stuck to the panel from past use. Instrument gauges all have faded graphics, and the lighting studs are also well worn and even rusted from use. As noted, if you are Carenado man (or woman), then this is heaven, a trip back into the glory days. Yokes up close are quite authentic and gloriously faded from their 70's heyday, you can hide them individually, and can also use the switch electric trim... Panel layout is in three layers of dials to create a deep feel of instruments... The Standard Six (SS) flying instruments are front and centre... Airspeed Indicator, Artificial Horizon and the Attitude Indicator are on the top row and the Turn Coordinator, Heading Dial/Course and Vertical Speed Indicators set out directly below. Left of the SS is a clock, backup Attitude Indicator and lower EGT (Exhaust gas temperature) needles. Right of the SS is a twin-needle Manifold pressure and below a twin needle RPM gauges, lower panel centre are two Bendix/King dials ADF (yellow) VOR2 (green) pointers driven by KR 87 ADF/VOR2 and the other is a VOR 2 / ILS indicator driven by KX 165 (NAV 2). Both heading and OBS rear dials/cards are adjustable. Lower panel is a Instrument air (vacuum) gauge and electrical starting and lighting switchgear with the neat gear knob. Top panel left is the label NAV 2 over the clock, very weird? Twin (engine sets) of six rows of gauges are centre panel, with from top: Fuel L&R quantity gauges, Fuel pressure gauges, Oil pressure gauges, Oil temperature gauges, Cylinder temperature gauges and Alternator load meters with Alternator-out under/over voltage warning lights inset (are beautifully done). Top of the gauges sits a DME indicator which displays range, ground speed and time to station for NAV 1 or NAV 2 frequencies. An outside air temperature (digital) matches the manual pressure left window type, and a Hobbs hour meter is far right. The circuit breaker panel is active and can be used and is noted in the twin-bus layout of BUS 1 and BUS 2, it is very good and highly authentic in use. Flap lever and display are below the avionics with 0º - 10º - 20º - DN settings, but the flaps are not section driven, but are continuous in operation and so the degree markers are for display only. There are no instruments for the right seat pilot/passenger with the equipment stack dominating the area. Avionics stack is the usual Bendix/King KMA 28 TSO radio top which is above the GNS430 below (the Reality XP's GTN 750 unit can also be fitted, but this is an addon extra and costs you another $49.95) There is a really nice Bendix/King KT 76A transponder unit with a Bendix/King KX 155 COM/NAV 2 radio and Bendix/King KR87 ADF radio receiver bottom. Top far right is the Century IV autopilot which is (speaking to the passenger) "can you press the second button the top row, thanks very much" as it is located pretty in being well as far away from the pilot as reachable possible (there is thankfully a pop-up panel), and below is a WX-8 Stormscope. Twin Throttle levers, Propeller control levers (feathering on both 2-bladed Hartzell 7666A constant speed propellers does work) and Mixture levers are all excellent and well worn and feel nicely authentic to use. Note... unless there is power on, the feathering won't work. Pitch trim is situated between the seats and is well done, but requires help in key settings in a simulation environment (electric trim is available on the yokes), fuel levers are really nice as are the engine vents that can be opened, closed or set half way.... fuel crossfeed is active and the (working) Carb heat is here as well. Note how the passenger seat is offset to the pilot's, a nice authentic touch. Internal Lighting Both internal and external lighting is still quite basic... panel has only two adjustments for instruments (noted as "Post Lights") and Instrument flood. But you can find that nice night time flying lighting sweetspot. However the worn graphics engine readouts look like early washed out X-Plane 2d panel, and they have no depth, but otherwise the panel looks good. Overhead light (and red torch) selection STILL does NOT work? so that gives you a very unusable dark cabin? External lighting Again very basic, even poor. The main wing and taxi lights are dull, and are missing their usual Thranda sparkle. Navigation lights (Red, Green and rear White) are fine, as are the wing strobes. Menu The Menu system is all changed for X-Plane 12. Gone are the side tab and the generally average looking tab menu. Here it is replaced by an iPad style tablet, stuck to the left window... But you do have options, as the tablet can also be placed on either yoke and windscreen right... You can pop-out the screen as a window as well... ... the tablet is also adjustable (movable) via the hot-spot, top frame. But because of it's size and shape, the view-point is not really square or head on, the yoke position is better, but now also situated lower in your eyesight. It's too far away as well for any detailed inspection and use. But the new layout and art does look far more modern, making it far nicer to use than the old version. The earlier version had eighteen tiles for selection, here it has been reduced down to twelve... Top row : Aircraft Options, Weight & Balance, Instr Options, Engine Config, and Static Liveries Middle Row : Configuration, Log Book, Checklist, Ground Handling and Dynamic Liveries Bottom row : Flight Computer and Avitab (Plugin required) Aircraft Options: Covers the three doors; Pilot, CoPilot and Baggage Door (Open /Close), Window and Instrument Reflections, Cockpit Lights, Ground Equipment, Swap Pilots and Altimeter (IN.HG/MB) Open (close) doors are as seen before... Cockpit lights, just turns full on the Instrument Lighting? but could have been more useful if used for the (missing) cabin light? Ground Equipment is as terrible as the earlier set up. A single option to add in a ground puller on the front wheel, chocks, tie-downs and to hide the pilot, it still does not work? The puller does not work (neither do the tie-downs) if you just want to park the aircraft after a flight. No tags or flags and engine inlet covers are here either, and even a windscreen cover would be nice? Dan Klaue and his wife turn up as your pilots, and basically they are same two animated pilots as in the Thranda Aircraft, by the menu option, you can swap the seat position of the pilots. Weight & Balance: The weight and balance window is very good, if basic to look at (it is the original W&B window). It comes with adjustable weights for all four passengers, and baggage, fuel can be set here also as can the change from kg - lbs. There is the option to load the Aircraft "Half" or "Full" tanks. A full list of weights, CG and a large graph of your settings are all very helpful into balancing the aircraft. Press "Save Configuration" to save your preferred load setup, and "Load Configuration" to set up the aircraft. Lowering the Co-Pilot weight will make Him/Her disappear, but there are no passengers if weight added in the rear, or any bags added to the baggage area, such is shrinkflation today. You can open most pages into a "Window" via the arrow logo right top. Instr Options (Instrument Options) include two pop-ups for the GNS 430 and the Century IV (autopilot). The old "Refill Menu" has been changed here to the Engine Options; this allows you to view the fuel and oil status as well as the status of spark plug fouling and Vapour Lock, and you can also recharge the battery if it goes flat, of which it does with regularity. Static Liveries; You can rotate through all the liveries with the Model 76 via the Static Liveries menu. An option here (new) is that you can adjust the Dirt (dirtiness) between 0-100%. Configuration: Here you can change the aircraft configuration, and there are three options; Engines Running (power up to flying mode), DynaFeel and the tablet (screen) Brightness. "DynaFeel" is a system that dynamically adjusts the rate at which the controls deflect. It is based on airspeed and how much the control is deflected. This means the controls will feel light and responsive at low speeds and with small deflections, but will get progressively heavier as the airspeed increases. If you fly Thranda Aircraft, then you will be familiar with the system. Logbook: This icon brings up the X-Plane standard Logbook. Checklist: There is a 27 page checklist that you can tick off... very good, but even though there is a "End of the Checklist" tickable box, it doesn't oddly reset all the boxes to a reset... that is a return of 27 pages and an average of twelve boxes per page to untick, so you do the maths... Ground Handling: All JustFlight menus have odd useless tools, here is one... the X-Plane "Ground Handling" tool, for "Pushback" and "Request Ground Service"? It's a GA, not a Boeing 737. Dynamic Liveries: Here is another Thranda feature now available on the JustFlight Series. Thranda introduced a clever feature of a way to design your own livery called DYNAMIC LIVERIES. You have a menu to select on the right that can colour a certain part of the aircraft, like the Roof, Wing, Tail or Wing tips. Select which one you want and then adjust the three RGB colours for that certain area, and the selected colour (here blue) is shown in the square. You can also separately change the aircraft registration number, the Beechcraft logo can be added as well. Another option is that changes can also be made to the Metal or Rough surfaces, this can be applied to any of the liveries. When done you can "SAVE" or ADD the livery and then "APPLY" it to the aircraft. The conversion takes a few minutes with some weird screen changes, but the results are excellent and now the Beechcraft is in your own nice livery design... Flight Computer: The flight computer panel provides a wealth of information that is very handy in flight, with highlights including OAT (Outside Air Temperature), GS (Ground Speed), range (available), endurance (time), and FF and used fuel flow, Winds.... fuel burn can be reset. Units can also be changed from Metric to Imperial.. AviTab: The AviTab tool can also be used, and with Navigraph charts, if you have an account. There is no tablet rotation from landscape to portrait, and to get back to the main menu, you press the right centre section of the frame. Missing from the earlier options are the Sound Panel and the Flashlight. ____________ Flying the X-Plane 12 Duchess Model 76 You have to prime the engines via a button in the middle of the starter switch before turning the starter switch, but it is a bit of a trick on how long to hold the primer button and not to flood the engine, not a lot I believe... engine starts are excellent. But I found several times the No.2 right engine has a tendency to foul it's plugs far more than the left one, if it does it is tricky to even hell to restart it again. The Model 76 taxi's like an older Carenado as well... You have to adjust both the Propeller and Mixture right low to get yourself a lower taxi speed, if not, even on idle the taxi rate is too fast. I'm used to this caper by now, but I don't remember the X-Plane 11 version having such a high throttle idle? The Hartzell constant speed propellers are counter-rotating, turning counter clockwise engine left and clockwise engine right, this is to balance the aircraft's thrust and it is very helpful on takeoff, keeping you clean on the centreline. With no set flap degrees you can set the angle that you want, here I go for 5º to create lift, but with as little drag as possible.... the flap display can be hard to see at this distance, harder to see and set on landing. You do adjust each throttle (slightly) to absorb the different engine performance... but that felt highly realistic. Around 95 knts and your climbing out. Climb out is around 1000 fpm (Feet Per Minute) and that is a nice number here, officially the rate of climb limit is 1,248 ft/min (6.34 m/s), so you are using the climb to maximum effect, it doesn't feel like there is any strain on the engines or the aircraft. The memories come flooding back... this is such a smooth Twin, super-smooth with tons of power. First climb is to 6,000ft, then Trim out... nice to trim and settle the aircraft. The electric Trim won't work unless you turn it on, on the panel behind the Yoke. Then you get the two up/down arrows on the Yoke trimmer button for trim adjustment. Same with the Autopilot, there is another panel switch for power, then another on switch on the Century IV panel... it's very hard to read (certainly with the bright daylight), so the AP pop-up is the recommended tool to use it most of the time... ALT will hold your current altitude, but to climb or descend you then press ATT and then set your pitch, you click and don't scroll the buttons to change the aircraft's pitch. The ATT setting can also be used just to hold your current pitch if you like that angle or rate of climb, so the AP is again very easy to use. Now we settle-in for the 2h 30m flight to Portland, if any aircraft is very capable, it is the Duchess. The Beechcraft looks extremely nice in the air, certainly in it's X-Plane 12 guise, realism 101... checkout ot the underside, fabulously done, remind you of anything? yes those dirty Carenados. Then then also remember to use the EGT needles, the yellow needles represent the best lean to rich mixture for the best fuel flow and hence performance, so you adjust both the throttles and the mixture levers to achieve your golden lean setting.... it works fabulously, and I learn't a lot back in the time on how to "Lean for Speed". Here the mixture levers are really well far back, almost at the engine cut-off point, but the speed is good, and you feel no loss of power. Cruise speed is 158 kn (182 mph; 293 km/h) at the best at 10,000 ft (3,000 m), Range is VOR busting 780 nmi (898 mi; 1,445 km) and the Service Ceiling is a generous 19,650 ft (5,990 m).... I need that height here as well? what is it if you fly North on the West Coast of California, as you always seem to be climbing, I'm finding I'm already up to 9,000ft, but those ridges are still close? It is a nice place to be in is the Duchess, the quality environment is absolutely first rate, a genuine feel. Now descending into Portland, I checkout the Flight Computer numbers, very handy and informative... good tools are always a help. One thing has been enforced during this newer review of the Model 76, and that this is a nice easy aircraft for learners and it comes with a nice stable platform to practise on, yes the 76 is an easy aircraft to fly, but the pro's will get it as well... and love it as much as there is also a great built in depth in there, certainly even better now in X-Plane 12. Sounds are excellent, they should be at this price, but overall and right through the engine ranges, startup and shut down, you will not be disappointed. The sounds cover the full stereo spectrum, 3D audio effects, atmospheric effects, adaptive Doppler, exterior sounds spill, and different sound characteristics depending on viewing angle... It's a very noisy aircraft as they are first rate and also upgraded to FMOD2. Set up and went into the approach of Portland Intl Rwy 10R. Tricky into getting right is the Flap setting... The JustFlight Duchess as noted uses a continuous movement flap selection... It's hard, because of the angle and distance of the flap dial, worse on this approach as the flat glass on the instrument was washed out, so the setting was a bit of a guess, or feel. Secondly it takes ages to get to the full 30º (DN) setting, extending and retracting, so you think you are there, then look and see it is only half-extended? They are seriously noisy as well, thrumming high noise in the aircraft. With the gear down you can see the excellent lower detail, it's impressive is this JustFlight. 90 knts full flap is a nice approach and losing height of around 200 fpm speed. You have to be careful not to get too nose down on the approach, so the right trim setting and throttle position is vital. Pitch adjustments via the throttle is excellent, but also sedate, so you have to anticipate where you want your speed and pitch angle before you get there... it's a bit of a trick, but it comes to you with the regular flying of the Model 76. Final approach is 80 knts, then you need to get that nose up to flare. The trick (there is always a trick), is to find that throttle sweet spot, so the Duchess has a slow speed landing, but not a lot of loss of lift, the margin is small, but findable, so doable. The timing of the final pitch still however has to be perfect in the flare, to early and the 76 will slightly float... Once all down, it should be at around 73 knts, then you just run out the speed down to the taxi speed, again the right propeller and mixture lever settings are important to get right before you land, to get the transition to taxiing correct. Stall is 60 knts and lethal, you will just fall out of the air because of that high T-Tail effect! Liveries There are seven liveries provided (PAINTED LIVERIES) (down from eleven), and two of the liveries are noted as "DynamicLiveryResources" and "ZZTEMPLATELIVERY", these are the currently selected "DYNAMIC LIVERIES". ___________________ Summary A Twin-Engined aircraft was released for X-Plane 11 in April 2019 by JustFlight and Thranda Design, this was the Beechcraft Duchess Model 76. It was a very nice twin, and now here it has been extensively upgraded to X-Plane 12, note this is an upgrade, and earlier purchasers of the Duchess XP11 can get 10% discount off the new Duchess X-Plane 12 aircraft. Covered also by JustFlight/Thranda has been the Archer TX/LX, Archer lll, Warrior ll and the Arrow lll/lV, but this Duchess 76, is the only big twin-engined aircraft of the series. The X-Plane 11 version was an excellent aircraft. But this rejuvenated version for X-Plane 12 is far, far better again, but a few quirks still however remain. Highlights of the changes are the new 8K textures, and the far better PBR effects, and this creates a far more quality exterior and interior. First glances say, old and tired, but on a closer inspection, it will cry out authenticity and a very high quality. The aircraft comes alive in X-Plane 12, highly realistic and gives you a very high quality twin for X-Plane 12. There is also a new menu system, as replacing an old tab system, and it is a quality iPad/tablet, that can be positioned in four different places. Besides a few of the original tabs and pages, there are also three new added features directly from the Thranda Design stable, with now the "PAINTED LIVERIES" function, the build your own livery feature of "DYNAMIC LIVERIES" and the "Dynafeel" tool. Performance, physics and handling have also been highly improved to X-Plane 12 standards, based on real-world performance and handling data (two real aircraft G-BZRT and G-GCCL were used as collation). But the odd quirks oddly remain? The poor Static Objects are still a one click nothing. No cabin lighting is still another odd omission, and the external taxi/landing lights are non-existent in brightness and feel, and you still get the very odd tab and useless elements like the X-Plane Ground Handling? and Logbook?... fillers only. The checklist is another oddity, with 27 pages of checks, you can't uncheck in one operation. When coming back to this JustFlight/Thranda Duchess 76, my thinking was "Why didn't I fly this excellent aircraft more, since the 2019 release as it was so good". In most cases you usually have an easy answer, but not with the Duchess, as it is a very fine aircraft in every area (except for separate chocks and covers). It is also in that high price range of US$40+, and that is fine as the aircraft does deliver exceptional quality, but now even more so in the X-Plane 12 environment. It is excellent, a lovely aircraft, that even the most novice pilot can fly and enjoy... overwhelmingly the main thing about the Duchess 76, is that it brings back into your hangar, something you felt you had lost, Carenado authenticity and feel. So it's like going back ten years but still having all the mod-cons that X-Plane 12 provides as well, a brilliant combination of the very best of both worlds.... Highly Recommended. ___________________ Yes! the Beechcraft Duchess Model 76 by JustFlight Thranda is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Beechcraft Duchess Model 76 On sale: US$42.99 Requirements: X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download size: 2.2 MB Current version : 1.0 (January 31st 2024) Owners of the Duchess XP11 can get 10% the new Duchess XP12. Installed in your X-Plane Aircraft folder 2.44 Gb. Authorization on startup is required. AviTab Plugin is required for this aircraft Documents Duchess Model 76 ODM X-Plane manual.pdf Duchess Model 76 X-Plane manual.pdf EULAstandardcommercialandacademic2019.pdf Design by JustFlight/Thranda Design Support forum: JustFlight Duchess 76 _____________________ Review System Specifications:  Windows - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.09rc5 (This is a Release Candidate review). Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - KHAF - Half Moon Bay by Rising Dawn Studios (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$19.00 - KPDX - Portland International Airport 1.5 by Mister X6 (X-Plane.Org) - Free Download ___________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 4th February 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  19. This is not the cleanest question, but you can't add REP to any aircraft and expect it to work in XP12. If the REP package is created for that aircraft, then if current it should work in XP12, Like I use it for the Bonanza F33 (still noted as XP11) but works fine in XP12.
  20. NEWS! - KDEN Denver is updated to v2.1 by X-Codr Designs X-PlaneReviews "Best Scenery of the year" 2022 was X-Codr's sublime massive KDEN Denver International Airport. Here early into 2024 is a nice little update v2.1 to fine-tune DEN with a few more new features. Denver International Airport locally known as DIA, is an international airport in the Western United States, primarily serving metropolitan Denver, Colorado, as well as the greater Front Range Urban Corridor. At 33,531 acres (52.4 sq mi; 135.7 km2), it is the largest airport in the Western Hemisphere by land area and the second largest on Earth, behind King Fahd International Airport. Runway 16R/34L, with a length of 16,000 feet (3.03 mi; 4.88 km), is the longest public use runway in North America and the seventh longest on Earth. The airport is 25 miles (40 km) driving distance northeast of Downtown Denver, 19 miles (31 km) farther than the former Stapleton International Airport, the facility DEN replaced. In both 2021 and 2022, DEN was the third busiest airport in the world as well as the third busiest airport in the United States by passenger traffic; DEN has been among the top 20 busiest airports in the world every year since 2000. KDEN v2.1 First change or new features are that the service vehicles are now branded to the airline, services to Denver Airport (Swissaport). They also have new custom made sounds as well. Entrance elements are also updated. Some gates didn't work correctly with the SAM plugin, but are now fixed... and a few other fixes and improvements were done around DEN. Notable for the v2.1 update is to also update the X-Codr Library to v1.8, and the Living Scenery Technology to v1.11, besides the KDEN scenery package update v2.1... ✓ High Quality Rendition of KDEN - Denver International Airport       o Detailed, realistic terminals, accurate as of mid-2023.       o Realistic terminal interiors with numerous POIs (such as hanging display aircraft).       o Lively terminal interiors with animated escalators, and thousands of animated sitting, and walking people, whose density varies with time. All of which are visible from the aircraft.       o Windows on buildings with interiors loose opacity at night, mimicking the optics of real glass, for gorgeous night views.       o Realistic, high resolution, hand-crafted textures complete with PBR normal maps and realistic, accurate wear.       o Accurate, highly detailed buildings through the airport, including the new Southwest hangar. ✓ Realistic, natural ground textures       o Tile-free pavement textures with textures detailed down to the pebble       o Realistic normal maps give pavement depth       o Accurate, detailed markings, with realistic reflections       o Hand aligned concrete lines where possible, for natural transitions to newer, brighter pavement areas       o Realistic, hand painted grunge, with unmatched up close detail, that is cohesive with the rest of the scenery. ✓ Lively scenery through use of our Living Scenery Technology plugin for animations, and Stairport Sceneries SAM for jetway systems       o Thousands of walking animated people, with minimal performance impact       o Cars traverse the airport roads realistically, vs spawning in the middle of a road.       o Accurate, realistic speeds for people and cars throughout the airport.       o Animated electronic display boards on Concourse B display local time and temperature.       o AC fan blade speeds vary with the local temperature.       o Realistic, ultra detailed jetways through use of SAM       o All major parking spaces have excellent SAM marshallers to guide you in ✓ Maximum performance       o Every model is meticulously optimized for the best possible performance.       o Localized LODs reduce rendering load by over 80% on average, relative to traditional LODs       o Texture reuse other technical techniques improve VRAM efficiency.       o Shadows are disabled on objects that don’t benefit, for big performance gains. ✓ Full X-Plane 12 support       o Realistic weather effects       o Optimized native aircraft services.       o Use of the excellent native 3d vegetation The v2.1 update is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore... the price, for all this, only a brilliant US$29.95 _______________________________ Yes! KDEN - Denver International Airport HD v2.1 by X-Codr Designs is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : KDEN - Denver International Airport HD Price is US$29.95 Features This scenery is a ultra detailed recreation of Denver International Airport. Some of its features include: Ultra detailed rendition of Denver International Airport Winter and wet rainy versions are included as well Highly detailed custom buildings Most parts of all concourses have detailed custom interiors Detailed yet performance friendly models Normal maps for great bump mapping and glass reflections Ultra detailed ground textures 1 pixel per 6 inch orthophotos equivalent to ZL20 Orthophotos have been cleaned of duplicate flat textures under 3D models (such as traffic and bridges) Extreme detail for pavement, while still maintaining minimal repetition Highly detailed normal maps for impressive specular reflections X-Codr Designs SoundXP Plugin (Windows 10 ONLY) Ambient airport sounds will be played based on your location in the airport - a first in X-Plane Listen to chatter, announcements and other sounds when inside the terminal, trucks rumbling by and beeping when near busy ramp areas, and the drone of traffic speeding by when on the landside of the airport Dynamic living airport Watch heavies, regional commuters and other air traffic bring the airport to life with superb WT3 routes by Brian "Cpt. K-man" Navy (Bird Stryke Designs) Animated jetways using Autogate by Jonathan Harris (marginal) Animated car traffic using Ground Traffic by Jonathan Harris (marginal) Native ground services will service your aircraft upon request Highly detailed custom mesh using Ortho4XP Detailed under and overpasses Sloped runways and taxiways, and ditches Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 7.5 GB Current version: 2.1 January 22nd 2024 ____________________  NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 1st February 2024 Copyright©2024 : X-Plane Reviews 
  21. NEWS! - Classic Aircraft Released : Aircruiser 66-75 by Hangar 23 You sort of remember it? It is an aircraft that shows up in the odd aviation magazines and early aircraft videos. It's distinctive because of the unusual wing shape, or the aircraft's odd shape per se. The Bellanca Aircruiser and Airbus were high-wing, single-engine aircraft built by Bellanca Aircraft Corporation of New Castle, Delaware. The aircraft was built as a "workhorse" intended for use as a passenger or cargo aircraft. It was available with wheels, floats or skis. The aircraft was powered by either a Wright Cyclone or Pratt and Whitney Hornet engine. The Airbus and Aircruiser served as both commercial and military transports. he first Bellanca Airbus was built in 1930 as the P-100. An efficient design, it was capable of carrying 12 to 14 passengers depending on the cabin interior configuration, with later versions carrying up to 15. In 1931, test pilot George Haldeman flew the P-100 a distance of 4,400 miles in a time aloft of 35 hours. The full production run was only 23 aircraft, but some "The Flying Ws" were still flying in Canada well into the 1970's The third Aircuiser 66-75 variant came with a 730 hp (540 kW) Wright Cyclone engine, there was only three built. Features Custom coded simple autopilot with pitch and roll mode Custom coded optional autorudder Option to disable tailwheel steering Options for XP GNS and RXP GNS/GTN models GNS 530 or GTN 750 Custom clipboard weight and balance interface in both XP11 and XP12 XP12 version syncs with X-Plane’s default menu Save system saves aircraft settings between flights Weight and balance can be saved and loaded High quality 3d modeling High quality PBR materials Optional 2K texture set, including a simple guide, to allow selectively lowering system requirements All 3d objects relevant to creating liveries have been carefully unwrapped and arranged to simplify paint creation 4 preset PBR paint schemes with NRM and ALB textures: Metal Tanks (Default), Metal Nose, Metal Tanks and Nose, Painted Tanks and Nose FMOD sound system VR compatible and tested There is a great video of the history of the Aircruiser... Designed by Hangar 23 Support forum for the Aircruiser 66-75 ________________ The Aircruiser 66-75 by Hangar 23 is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here: Aircruiser 66-75 Price is US$29.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 (2 separate packages) Windows or Mac (Linux not supported) 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.0 (January 30th 2024) Download Size: 1.2 GB (each version) ________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 31st January 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved.
  22. NEWS! - Aircraft Release : X-Hangar releases de Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalo A sturdy workhorse is the DHC-5 Buffalo... The de Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalo is a short takeoff and landing (STOL) utility transport turboprop aircraft developed from the earlier piston-powered DHC-4 Caribou. The aircraft has extraordinary STOL performance and is able to take off in distances much shorter than even most light aircraft can manage. The Buffalo arose from a 1962 United States Army requirement for a STOL transport capable of carrying the same payload as the CH-47A Chinook helicopter. De Havilland Canada based its design to meet the requirement on an enlarged version of its DHC-4 Caribou, already in large-scale service with the United States Army, to be powered by General Electric T64 turboprops rather than the Pratt & Whitney R-2000 piston engines of the Caribou. De Havilland's design, the DHC-5 Buffalo, was chosen as the winner of the United States Army competition in early 1963, with four DHC-5s, designated YAC-2 (later CV-7A and subsequently C-8A) ordered. The first of these aircraft made its maiden flight on 9 April 1964, and all four aircraft were delivered in 1965. This is an X-Plane 12 aircraft release for X-Hangar, but an X-Plane 11 version is part of the package... there are a LOT of features. X-Plane Features: 3D cockpit VR cockpit Rain and wipers Opening windows Opening doors Opening ramp Yoke hide with keyboard key or press of a button on the panel Steerable yoke in both 3d and VR Pilot figures Passenger figures Static models Chocks and remove before flight flags Menu to hide co-pilot and other options 2 different loads: Passenger or Cargo Cargo or passenger load displays according to load (more with more weight and less with less weight) Many international liveries Layers for painting your own livery Garmin 540 GPS with pop out or press buttons Autopilot Century 41 Checklist in .txt format to use in the Sim User manual in .pdf format to help fly in X-Plane FSE file included to fly Flight Sim Economy Performance Cruise speed: 227 kn (261 mph, 420 km/h) maximum at 10,000 ft (3,000 m) Stall speed: 73 kn (84 mph, 135 km/h) 40 degree flaps at 46,900 lb (21,273 kg) Range: 600 nmi (690 mi, 1,100 km) at 10,000 ft (3,048 m) with maximum payload Ferry range: 1,770 nmi (2,040 mi, 3,280 km) zero payload Service ceiling: 31,000 ft (9,400 m) g limits: 2.5g (manoeuvring limit load) Rate of climb: 1,820 ft/min (9.2 m/s) Take-off run: 2,300 ft (701 m) Take-off distance to 50 ft (15 m): 2,750 ft (838 m) (mid cg range) Landing run: 850 ft (259 m) Landing distance from 50 ft (15 m): 2,010 ft (613 m) New X-Hangar support forum Images are courtesy of X-Hangar ________________ Yes! the de Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalo by X-Hangar is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : de Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalo Price is US$24.95 X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB VRAM Minimum Download Size: 311 Mb Current version: 1.0 (January 28th 2024) ________________ News by Stephen Dutton 30th January 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved.
  23. Aircraft Review : Leonardo Aermacchi M-346 AJT by Deltawing Simulations This is the excellent Leonardo Aermacchi M-346 AJT "Advanced Jet Trainer". The Aermacchi M-346 Master is a family of military twin-engine transonic advanced jet trainers and light combat aircraft. Originally co-developed with Yakovlev as the Yak/AEM-130, the partnership was dissolved in 2000 and then Alenia Aermacchi proceeded to separately develop the M-346 Master, while Yakolev continued work on the Yakovlev Yak-130. The first flight of the M-346 was performed in 2004. The type is currently operated by the air forces of Italy, Israel, Singapore, Greece, Turkmenistan and Poland. Since 2016 the manufacturer became Leonardo-Finmeccanica as Alenia Aermacchi merged into the new Finmeccanica, then finally rebranded as Leonardo in 2017. As the X-Plane 12 Simulator now has 18 months of maturity behind it, then users are now getting aircraft releases of only dedicated X-Plane 12 aircraft, in other words only true X-Plane 12 designed and higher quality releases. This M-346 is from Deltawing Simulations, a very well known and quality based developer, also known for their excellent F16C Fighting Falcon series of aircraft. Another thing notable is that this M-345 is an official Product and licensed by Leonardo. First impression is the Aermacchi just jumps right out at you, the quality is really very overwhelming, very X-Plane 12 and highly, highly realistic... I love an aircraft that just leaps out at you, your gut says, "This is going to be good", and the experience awaits. The M-346 is designed for the main role of a lead-in fighter trainer, in which aircraft's performance and capabilities are used to deliver pilot training for the latest generation of combat fighter aircraft. Powered by a pair of Honeywell/ITEC F124-GA-200 turbofan engines of 28 kN (6,300 lbf) thrust each, and designed to reduce acquisition and operating costs, the M-246 is capable of transonic flight without using an afterburner . Modeling is absolutely first rate... you will get no complaints from me in this area. Inlet and exhaust outlets are brilliantly conceived, all the diverse panels and riveting are excellent, the detail here does not reflect the sub-$40 price, but for a quality delivered from a far higher 25% price-point... Highlight is the superb twin-canopy, brilliant tinted glass shows a hugely complex cockpit, with two very highly realistic animated pilots, and even their mask air-tubes move with the movements... incredibly well done and like mentioned, highly realistic Another highlight is the gear.... First two front doors open, then the gear uncoils out of the underbody of the fuselage... The gear twists and turns it's way down, the animation detail is brilliant by Deltawing... highly realistic, I love watching the theatrics of it all. When all finally down and locked the gear detail from the struts, links, arms and the hydraulics is focus study stuff, in being just perfect and original to the design. Menu There is a banner menu "Aermacchi M-346" that has four options; Refuel Probe Toggle, Remove Before Flight Toggle, Ladder Toggle, Choks (sic) Toggle and OPTIONS Static elements are very good. The M346 is hung like a Christmas Tree with tags and flags, you also have engine inlet and exhaust covers. Highlight is the Ladder, beautifully detailed, it allows both pilots to insert or extract themselves from the Jet. There is a lovely fuel probe and an earthing cable and clamp.... and also rear wheel chocks. Set to the side is an emergency fire extinguisher. A nice touch is that both pilots can be inserted or removed individually from the cockpit via the OPTIONS menu. You can flip the pilot's visors by using Shift + F2 (front), and SHIFT + F3 (rear), but I found the F3 didn't work? Cockpit The Aermacchi is a twin-seat trainer, but being modern, the layout between the front and the rear are both mirrored in controls and instrumentation. The first look detail is excellent. It's tight in here as the boundaries don't give you much flex room, slightly forward and up are your only movement directions. It is a complex cockpit, but you soon navigate around the instruments, switches and dials if you are familiar with military aircraft. The instrument panel is dominated by the UFCP (Up Front Control Panel) top central and three MFDs (Multi-Function Display) lower, all laid out with universal menus. All four units pop-out via a pointer-circle... In the banner menu there is also the option to "Pop Out The Pop Outs" or switching them to full window menus. Left console covers; APU (Auxiliary Power Unit), yes it is built in! RENG (Engines), TCT, FGS, TRIM and PWR (Power) sections. Right console covers PWR (Radio), ICS, ECS (Environment), IFF (Identify Friend or Foe), INTR LT (Internal Lighting), EXT LT (External Lighting), MASS... rear is the RADIO (right and MAINT. ENG DRY left. Behind the HOTAS stick, is the HOTAS and FCS (flight control system) panel. The highlight of the cockpit is left, these are the lovely Twin-Throttles, again worth a close investigation. Also notable is the Ejection Seat "Safety Catch" SAFE or ARMED. There is a full selection and activation settings for the ejector seat, and very authentic to the real seat operations. The UFCP has input selection keys and data selections, with 8 Function keys, 35 data entry options all done on a 4 line dot-matrix display unit. Data selection cover IFF (Identify Friend or Foe), COMM (Communications), FPL (Flightplan), SP (Steering Point or waypoints), Data Page (Fuel, Height, Laser, Altitude), BARO, AP (Autopilot)/ FD (Flight Director), TACAN, VOR/ILS, CLOCK... it's complicated, but all the selections are noted in the manual, but sadly there are no descriptions of the tools or how to use them, so a bit of study and pushing buttons is required to master the unit, but clever and authentic the UFCP is. Here are a few of the displays available... The three MFDs (Multi-Function Display), are interchangeable, or you can display the same page on either MFD. Selection is via the MENU button top, the Menu selections disappears again with non-selection. Again there are a lot of menu choices (most currently are INOP), but active are FCS (Status), COMMS 1, COMM 2, IN/GPS, CAD 1 (Including AP/FD and ROLL), HSI (Horizontal Situation Display) with "NAV Source", MAP/ TSD and SYSTEMS, there also menus within menus like SYS and FUEL pages. Again the Manual could be more descriptive of these systems and have labels in explaining what they are and how they work, so your work wil be a bit hit and miss in making notes on how to navigate the screen pages. I feel more MFD options will come later from Deltawing, the idea is to do the basics of the MFD first, then do the deeper detail in coming updates. The HUD (Head Up Display) or noted here as the "PDU" or Pilot Display Unit, but I will still note it as the HUD. This one is a very comprehensive HUD, quite different in it's layout arrangement, but very well done and the main feature of the cockpit, we will focus on this HUD in flight. Lower set on the glareshield are the ATL (Altitude) SEL, BARO, CRS (Course) SEL, and HDG (Heading) SEL knobs, and the Caution Warning Panel (CWP) Annunciators. Lower is a (pop-out) backup (here noted as a GHD or "Get Home Display") ISIS or Integrated Standby Instrument System. If you press the lower center of the HUD assembly, it will move you to the rear seat, and vise-versa. Control wise the rear station is exactly the same as the front, most of the same instruments are present back here as well, the only difference are the side panels, that have a lot of the switch panels missing. Lighting There are three knobs for adjusting the internal lighting. CONSOLE and INST (Instrument) does the main honours, and it looks gorgeous. A third knob FLOOD will give you cockpit lighting via four spot-lights... overall totally excellent, but I couldn't find the HUD brightness adjustment. External lighting has flashing white beacons top, lower and tail, inner Navigation lights, and a single taxi light on the front gear strut, and landing lights on each of the rear gear legs... A highlight are the adjustable "Formation" or Slime lights... nose, rudder, rear fuselage, and on the tips of the wings. Flying the M-346 Pooowwwer, what is it about with these trainers that have so MUCH thrust... the Aermacchi is certainly not lacking in this area with those huge Turbofans with 28 kN (6,300 lbf) of some heavy thrust capacity... enough to give you a climb-rate of 112 m/s (22,000 ft/min), then a Mach 0.95 Maximum speed or 1,090 km/h (680 mph, 590 kn) in the old school. You feel it, through your back and in the controls. The other thing with trainers is balance... they are extremely easy to trim and to find that sweet spot, you know the point where you can take your hands off the stick and feet off the rudders and the aircraft will just stay there, powering along at a god fast awful speed, it exhilarating! The M-346 is an absolute gem of a handling aircraft, you get precision here, but also that relaxed control feel in the way the aircraft turns and reacts to your inputs. It doesn't feel like a trainer, but more like an efficient attack aircraft. In the advanced jet trainer role, the original M-346 model is unarmed; however, in November 2015, it was reported that Alenia Aermacchi was close to finalising a combat-capable dual-role variant of the aircraft. During late 2017, a series of armed tests involving the AIM-9L missiles took place. In 2015, an armed variant, designated as the M-346 LCA (Light Combat Aircraft), was offered to Poland; this reportedly included a capability of operating the Brimstone air-to-ground missile. The armed variant is still under development, designated M-346FA. The first pre-series aircraft has however flown from Venegono airfield in July 2020. You are at one with the aircraft, not only in the front seat, but also if you prefer the rear. Realism is provided by the moving front pilot's helmet, it is SO realistic in here. One of the highlights is the comprehensive HUD or PDU. There are 16 display readouts... .... although most HUD's are identical, the layout of the data is different here, so you will need to study the visual references before going flying, it's brilliant but confusing if you don't know what is what... the basics are shown here. You have to keep it centred in the scope as well, move your POV and you lose a section of the HUD data. Once I had worked it all out, I loved the display, but will note that at certain angle to the bright sky, it can wash out the lower details, so you have to squint closer for the data, this can make tough with reading on approaches. You can't hide or lower the HUD either, so it is always on. No doubt is if you have VR (Virtual Reality) headset, it would be realistically amazing in here, the Deltawing M-346 fully supports the VR environment, its great on a monitor in 2d, but in 3d 360º would be absolutely excellent. The CAD page gives you the standard flying instrument display on the MFD. It has the standard Artificial Horizon and speed and altitude tapes, but there is an option when in the AP mode for the AP details to be also shown on the CAD, and very good it is, sometimes easier to read than the HUD whiteout. My only gripe is that using the V/S Speed and Altitude capture is very hit and miss, sometimes it works, but in most cases refuses to capture your selected altitude, either more refinement is required, or more information on in how it works needs to be forthcoming from Deltawing. Range is 1,925 km (1,196 mi, 1,039 nmi), with an endurance of 2 hours 45 minutes (4 hours with external drop tanks). Ceiling like most trainers is a very high 13,716 m (45,000 ft) to replicate fighter limits, same with the g limits of +8 -3. Sounds, brilliant of course, FMOD 2 in design, they totally reflect the tone and power of the F124-GA-200, its behind you as you accelerate, but aurally around you as you twist the Aermacchi around in the air, so yes it comes with 360º doppler movement... other smaller, switch, gear extension/retraction and alert sounds are all perfect, its a very sonic environment... just listen to the air-pressure opening and closing of the canopy. A feature of the Aermacchi M-346 is the PARS system which is a "Pilot Activated Recovery System"... the idea is to recover the aircraft to a safe flight situation, say if a student panicked, or a loss of conscious (blackout)... there is a button on the console behind the stick that activates the system... So I drop the M-346 into a death roll and fall... ... so I pushed the stick more forward... more nose down and now past the point of recovery... ... then you hit the PARS button, and lo & behold the Aermacchi, just quickly and simply recovered itself to a nice safe level flying position! So the system is very realistic. Fuel system is very good. You have 2x Internal Tanks and 2x Wing Tanks... plus 2x Pylon Tanks for a total of 4075 Lts, or 8965 Lbs of fuel Hit the "EMERG JETT" or "Do NOT Touch" button and the pylon tanks drop away... In one area of the flight envelope, it is the landing that needs skill. This is a powerful, but also slippery aircraft... So first it is at first hard to slow down, certainly if you fly very high and lose altitude quickly, rubbing off the speed is tricky, difficult. You do have a very effective airbrake above your heads to the rear, and it makes a difference. It has two stages of deployment. The default official stall speed is 95 knts, but you would never go that low before falling out of the sky, it feels more like 130 knts, several approaches at the Full (LDG) flap setting, I was already sinking at around 135 knts, so the best approach speed is 140 knts. Slipping to 129 knts I had a nice slope down into the runway, but you feel you are on the edge of lift, worse you feel that your approaching the runway far too fast, it just comes at you at a "hell" of a speed, fast... but how can you go slower? Touch is around 120 knts, but it feels still to fast... this is actually my second approach and landing, the first, then I had literally fell out of the sky with the loss of lift, this time around was better, not perfect but better... so you can see it needs practise to get a landing right at the feeling of the high speed. Once down you feel you are now sprinting down the runway... fast, so be careful on the brakes. To help, once the rear gear hits the tarmac, the both aileron surfaces popup to act as airbrakes, its very well done. So the M-346 is tricky to get right in the lower speed zone, the same in the air as the throttle adjustments have to be absolutely perfect to get the right speeds to keep you aloft, you do however get the right feel the more you spend time in the aircraft. Power on in most phases of the flight, and you simply don't think about it at all, but it is certainly one aircraft to learn and absorb at those slower speeds. I have sort of mentioned it above. the Manual is very good, it is 85 pages including a rough checklist. But there is the issue in that the manual is all images, so you can't search or find certain topics, so the only way to find the information is to constantly scroll through the manual, and look at every area, with it's complex acronyms makes it hard to find, and worse most are not labeled on their action. Notes are few and far between, so with aircraft of this Menu driven complexity, then a tutorial is required. Skunkcraft Updater is also available here. Liveries There are eleven liveries with the Aermacchi. Three are Leonardo Factory liveries, and six are the current Air Force operators, altogether they are all excellent in design and 4K quality. Deltawing is the default developer livery, but also the best of the set. _____________ Summary The Aermacchi M-346 Master is a family of military twin-engine transonic advanced jet trainers and light combat aircraft. It is a twin-seater modern powerful trainer that has been a recent success in being active currently in six Armed Forces. Deltawing Simulations, a very well known and quality based X-Plane developer, is also known for their excellent F16C Fighting Falcon series of aircraft. And here is another brilliant Simulation from this evergreen master. Modeling is simply X-Plane 12 wow factor. The aircraft stands out in the simulator for total realism and immersion, both externally and internally. Military systems are first rate including a quality HUD (Head Up Display), UFCP (Up Front Control Panel) top central and three MFDs (Multi-Function Display), that are interchangeable. System depth is already excellent, but expect more pages to follow in updates, its all complex to use, but authentic. This is trainer, so not armed (unless you count dropping the external fuel tanks), but a M-346FA Fighter variant might come in the future. All animations, certainly the complex gear movements are also a highlight. The clever PARS system "Pilot Activated Recovery System" is also very well replicated here. Banner menu covers; Refuel Probe, Before Flight , Ladder, Choks (sic) and pilot OPTIONS in show/hide pilot and opening of the helmet visors are all great well done features... Static elements here are very good, and the aircraft has it's own built in APU. Lighting is excellent inside and out, and features "Formation" lights or Slime. Sounds are also top notch, with 360º FMOD 2 quality and aural cockpit sounds. Gripes are extremely small, more or better documentation... better still a tutorial on theses complex aircraft are required, they are acronym hell, and the details need to be explained. You are starting to expect or are referencing a higher quality and feel factor in these X-Plane 12 only created simulations, these are projects done under the X-Plane 12 environment and are not transitioned from earlier versions of X-Plane. It is highly noticeable in every aspect of these modern creations. But in being also value priced at under US$40, you are getting here the total best of both worlds, higher quality and systems, for a very credible price. The Deltawing Aermacchi M-346 certainly delivers massively in both or all areas. It's nice to fly and balance as well... but the thing that comes across more than anything in the Aermacchi is the higher realism... with projects like these, the real world gap to simulation is closing in even more.... Highly Recommended! ___________________ Yes! the Leonardo Aermacchi M-346 AJT by Deltawing Simulations is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Leonardo Aermacchi M-346 AJT On sale: US$39.95 Main Features: Highly detailed 3d exterior model Highly detailed 3d cockpit model Highly detailed landing gear system Highly detailed pilot figures Dual cockpit Custom remove before flight objects Custom particles system Realistic FMOD custom sounds 4K textures Realistic startup sequence Custom cockpit lights Custom external lights Custom external fuel tanks (droppable) Fully custom electronics system Fully custom environmental system Fully custom autopilot Fully custom Fly-By-Wire system 3 individual fully custom MFD displays, as close to the original as possible Supports Skunkcraft updater 11free 4K highly detailed liveries included Supports VR Requirements: X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac (M1 and M2 are supported) or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 742 MB Current version: 1.0.0_0r3 (January 26th 2024) Note: In order to use and enjoy VR environment in X-Plane, user hardware and system specs should meet the required specifications for OS, CPU, GPU, MB and RAM which are specified both in the given VR hardware websites and at X-Plane.com. Aircraft download is 741 Mb, and unpacked then installed in your X-Plane Aircraft folder 2.36 Gb. Authorization on startup is required Documents DWSim M-346AJT Manual Design by DeltaWing Simulations Support forum: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/forums/forum/753-aermacchi-m-346-advanced-jet-trainer/ https://deltawingsim.com/ _____________________ Review System Specifications:  Windows - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.09rc3 (This is a Release Candidate review). Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - LICC - Catania-Fontanarossa Airport 2.1 by FlyDave (X-Plane.Org) - Free ___________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 29th January 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved